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Medvedev speeds up building work at Vostochny space centre

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has ordered construction of the new Vostochny space centre to be accelerated so that the ambitious project does not fall behind schedule.

The first launch from the Vostochny space centre is planned for late 2015, if the facility is built according to plan, though much work remains to be done, including finalising the skeleton of the structure and also fitting out the interior, which will comprise tens of thousands of square metres.

Sign of progress

Russia sees the new space centre as an illustration of its progress on the global stage, not only in terms of technological advancement, but also exploration, and as such Mr Medvedev has revealed he is to meet with the chief of Roscosmos, the Russian Federal Space Agency, for an update.

"The active phase of the construction is underway, but as I understand, it is behind schedule, and must be made up for. The project is not only of scientific, but also economic importance, even it can be said geopolitical," the Prime Minister added, pointing out that the prestige of the state is likely to be affected by its success.

Varying factors

In the meeting with Roscosmos, Mr Medvedev will discuss a number of factors that are affecting the construction of the space centre, and enquire about what is planned to be done, both from an objective and subjective perspective.

He has also ordered Vice-Premier Dmitry Rogozin to plan a meeting for next week to discuss the project, though Mr Rogozin has moved to assure both the Prime Minister and all interested stakeholders that it is on schedule.

The Vostochny space centre will be located in the Amur region in Uglegorsk, in the Far East of the country, and occupy around 700 sq km, making it not only the first national civil-purpose cosmodrome to ensure independent access for Russia to space, but also one of the largest projects in recent decades.

At present, Russia launches manned spacecraft from Baikonur, which was built in Kazakhstan and is leased from the country at the moment.

According to Mr Rogozin, a rocket with space satellites will be delivered to the launch site in mid-2015, though a number of particulars need to be addressed before then.

Work to do

The interior of the facility will need to be fully operational and as such all aspects are being scrutinised to ensure that orders and building remains on track, so that there is little chance of disruption when the rockets are delivered.

Mr Rogozin explained that the space centre will then be ready to wow the world: "The carrier rocket Soyuz is ready, as well as the Lomonosov and Aist space vehicles, which are planned to be launched in December next year. They will be delivered to the cosmodrome in the middle of next year to make preparations for the flight."

As Russia aims to boost its presence on the global and galactic stage, the success of the space centre will be of paramount importance, and that will include ensuring it is delivered on time and budget - something that the Vice-Premier and Roscosmos seem confident will happen.

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