It's 6:07 a.m. Do you know where your construction workers are? (Roskosmos)
Maybe public oversight can speed up construction of the Vostochny cosmodrome.
We wrote last year about the Vostochny cosmodrome in Siberia, planned to be a partial replacement for the Baikonur launch site in Kazakhstan after constuction is finished this summer. Russia hopes that switching to the eastern spaceport will lessen its reliance on another country for launch services.
Russian deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin is not happy with the pace of construction at Vostochny, however. Not happy at all. So he ordered webcams to be installed at the launch site, so the public could keep watch over the workers.
There, that should speed things up. Live scenes from Vostochny are available at this link. And if that doesn't work (you may need to install a plug-in) try this one.
7:32 a.m. A few hardy souls are on the job. (Roskosmos)
Im Inneren des neuen Weltraumbahnhof Vostochny, Tor zu den Planeten
Huge progress as Russia's $5 billion cosmodrome is readied for first launch.
The giant new complex on the eastern fringe of Siberia will assure independence for Russia in space exploration, and before long the name Vostochny will be as well-known in the world as Cape Canaveral or Baikonur.
Recent headlines at the site of this 'national priority' in Amur region, in the Russian Far East, have concentrated on delays in construction work and the whiff of corruption which afflicts most new mega-projects.
The whip has been cracked especially by President Vladimir Putin and first deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin, in overall charge of the project, who, exasperated by delays, warned recently: 'I will not allow any sabotage, I'll simply rip their heads off.
'Those who try to steal the people's money from the spaceport will be locked up. We will build this cosmodrome.'
Yet as our exclusive set of pictures shows, mammoth progress has been made despite these teething problems, and the complex is taking rapidly taking shape in the taiga.
The vast construction operation - which will take over from Soviet-era Baikonur, in Kazakhstan, as Russia main launch site - is the largest since the huge building frenzy for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi on the Black Sea coast.
The site will eventually see launches for the Moon and Mars as part of an ambitious Russian programme for space exploration.
Under construction at Vostochny are separate launch pads for Soyuz and the new long distance Angara rockets.
There are processing facilities, an airport, rail and motorway links, and a unique state of the art 'satellite city' for up to 30,000 people, which will become home to rocket scientists.
Students from around the country - especially those studying subjects related to the space industry - have been encouraged to dedicate time to working on the construction, a throwback to Soviet times when, for example, young people worked on the ambitions Baikal Amur Mainline railway project.
The futuristic 'space town' of Tsiolkovsky will have a school, kindergarten, theatre and aqua park, aiming to provide comfort for scientists working on the launches.
There will also be a research base, and an intention to open an eastern branch of the Moscow Aviation Institute.
'Vostochny is a point of growth for the entire Russian Far East, a breath of fresh air for the Far Eastern region,' said Rogozin last year. 'Vostochny will not just provide for the space independence of Russia. The new town will accommodate space industry intellectuals.'
In 2013 he said: 'We should open here a branch of a Russian leading university to train specialists for the national space sector, for example, a branch of the Moscow Aviation Institute.
'Here we are facing all the future of the rocket-space industry, here is the Pacific Ocean. Here Russia should demonstrate its ambitions, and we should do everything to motivate young specialists come here.'
The new space city is named after rocket designer Konstantin Tsiolkovsky. The Russian president described it as one of the 'biggest and most ambitious projects' ever undertaken.
The authorities admit that it is now touch and go whether the ambitious target of a launch of an unmanned Soyuz rocket will be met this year.
Of some 273 facilities scheduled to be ready by 1 March, only 81 were operative, according to Russia's Centre for Ground-Based Space Infrastructure (TsENKI).
'The point of no return - the time to which all the equipment must be passed for the installation - is March 30,' stated state-owned TASS news agency.
The former head of TsENKI, Alexander Fadeyev, warned: "It is still possible to carry out the first launch from the Vostochny cosmodrome in 2015.
'The builders need to exert efforts. The launch equipment has already been delivered to the cosmodrome, everybody is just waiting for the completion of the construction work.'
Since 2013, Rogozin has taken a number of measures to halt delays and ensure better co-operation between the different contractors. He set up webcams to ensure there was no slouching.
'Layabouts who barely walk about the building site should be aware that they are watched,' he warned at the time.
Referring to the tight timings of the launch scheduled for December, Rogozin said recently 'it is possible, but one should work harder.' New specialist staff are being drafted in and action taken to deal with complaints of workers who said they were not paid on time.
Rogozin pointed to the state body responsible for building this key project.
'I have just phoned to the head of Spetsstroy and demanded exhaustive measures to restore the construction schedule,' he said.
There are reports of the Accounts Chamber exposing that costs of Vostochny were inflated by $180 million amid fears funds have gone walkabout.
Rogozin warned top executives at Spetsstroy that he would hold them 'personally and financially responsible' if 'the specified terms of the construction are not executed'.
Dmitriy Savin, head of main state-run contractor Dalspetsstroy, was also sidelined.
'Here we are facing all the future of the rocket-space industry, here is the Pacific Ocean. Here Russia should demonstrate its ambitions'.
Quelle: The Siberian Times
First Manned Launch From Russia's Vostochny Cosmodrome Delayed Until 2025
Russia's space agency Roscosmos is postponing the first manned space flight from the new Vostochny Space Center from 2018 until 2025, local media reported Monday citing the federal space program.
According to the Izvestiya newspaper, there is no purpose in launching the older Soyuz ship in 2018, with the first launch being carried out using a new ship with a new Angara-A5B carrier rocket.
"We are expecting to reach the preparedness level for the implementation of manned space flights by 2025," Roscosmos spokesman Igor Burenkov said, as quoted by the newspaper.
The first test flight of the Angara-A5B is scheduled for 2023, while the rocket's first unmanned flight is slated for 2024, according to the media outlet.
The Vostochny Space Center is under construction in the Amur Region of Russia's Far East since 2012. Vostochny will enable Russia to launch most missions from its own soil, reducing the country's reliance on the Baikonur space station in Kazakhstan.
Earlier statements claimed that the first launch of a new manned spacecraft on an Angara heavy rocket carrier would take place in 2023.
The Angara family of space launch vehicles has been in development since 1995. In April, Roscosmos head Igor Komarov said that Russia could use the modernized Angara-5 heavy-class carrier rocket in a moon exploration program in 2025 and a manned moon landing in 2029.
Siehe auch: http://www.hjkc.de/_blog/2014/02/25/raumfahrt---vostochny-raumfahrtzentrum-ist-entscheidende-einrichtung-fuer-russland/
Russia's moon landing plan hindered by financial distress
Russia's moon landing project among other space programs will face further budget cuts and even risk of closure following the government's austerity measures, a senior official of Russia's space industry said Monday.
"We don't rule out that further space budget cuts would continue in the upcoming years," said Yuri Koptev, head of the scientific-technical Council of Roscosmos, the governing organ of Russia's space industry.
Russia's moon landing plan requires at least 2.4 trillion rubles (34 billion U.S. dollars) until 2025, according to Koptev.
Roscosmos head Igor Komarov said in April that Roscosmos would keep implementing space exploration projects despite the economic difficulties and try to help Russian cosmonauts land on the moon no later than 2030.
Russia's space strategy charted by Roscosmos until 2030 regards the moon missions as a step toward a manned flight to Mars.
The reform of Russia's space industry became imperative following a recent string of launch failures, and many enterprises in the industry are in bad need of financial optimization and state support to pay off their multi-billion debts.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin in May criticized the country's space industry for ineffective management and excessive capacity, calling for urgent reform and tougher punishment for mission failures.
Blow for new cosmodrome as officials say first manned launch is still a decade away
A 2007 presidential decree had set 2018 as this target date for manned launched and it was echoed in repeated statements from officials until recently. Picture: Igor Ageenko
Russian space officials say they remain on target for the first unmanned launch from Vostochny in December this year. But plans for manned launches to commence in 2018 have been shelved, which means Russia will depend on Baikonur in Kazakhstan for another ten years.
Vostochny, in Amur region on the eastern fringe of Siberia, is the country's iconic new spaceport. It is currently Russia's largest building project, and the seven year delay appears to be a setback.
It follows a government decision not to adapt the new facility for the ageing Soyuz rockets for manned launches, but instead to prepare it for the new-era Angara rockets. However the new cosmodrome will use the Soyuz-2 rocket for unmanned launches.
A 2007 presidential decree had set 2018 as this target date for manned launched and it was echoed in repeated statements from officials until recently.
'The first manned flight from the Vostochny Cosmodrome is scheduled for 2025 with an Angara-AV5 rocket, according to the federal space programme.' Pictures: Igor Ageenko
It was reported that Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin and the head of the Russian Space Agency Igor Komarov managed to persuade Vladimir Putin to adjust the date of manned launches.
The reasons were not spelled out, and it was unclear if financial considerations were behind the delay.
Space agency spokesman Mikhail Fadeyev made clear the change of plan in stating: 'The first manned flight from the Vostochny Cosmodrome is scheduled for 2025 with an Angara-AV5 rocket, according to the federal space programme.' The move reflected the 'founding principle of Vostochny as an innovative cosmodrome', he claimed. Under the plan, the first test flight of the Angara-A5B is scheduled for 2023, while the rocket's first unmanned flight is slated for 2024.
Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev recently visited the spaceport, stressing the importance of the first unmanned launch, due in four months from now, being a success. His statement appeared to allow for the possibility of slippage in this timetable also.
When I walked around the spaceport yesterday, I made sure that we had perfect modern engineering solutions. Not a single country in the world has a spaceport of this level or such solutions.' Pictures: Igor Ageenko
'We must do everything to make this launch successful. This is more important than deadlines. Yet no one has cancelled these deadlines. They are set by the president's order and have not been reviewed,' he said.
Asked specifically if the December 2016 target could also be put back following his meeting a day earlier with space chiefs, he replied:
'There are certain reference points, and Roscosmos takes guidance from these deadlines. And that was said at the conference yesterday. I would not deny that I made certain decisions there, gave certain instructions and pushed certain buttons to spur on those processes.'
He acknowledged 'certain problems exist with the construction pace and lags in certain areas' but said that Vostochny was overcoming its much-publicised delays and labour problems, with some workers claiming they were not paid.
'On the whole, I have an impression that we are entering a final stage of the first segment of the Vostochny spaceport project. Everyone is operating in a coordinated regime which has finally been created, and construction and adjustment works are planned to end in due time. All the other problems will be resolved depending on overall performance.'
He added: 'When I walked around the spaceport yesterday, I made sure that we had perfect modern engineering solutions. Not a single country in the world has a spaceport of this level or such solutions.'
Vostochny 'really will be the most modern spaceport in the world with apt technological solutions that can fulfil civilian and a variety of other space missions.' Some 8,500 people are working at the construction site which will include a new 'space city'.
Quelle: The Siberian Times
First launch from Vostochny cosmodrome scheduled for April 25, 2016 — head of space center
The Progress State Research and Production Space Center’s specialists are completing component tests of the equipment at the cosmodrome’s technical and launch complexes
The first launch from the Vostochny spaceport in Russia’s Far East is scheduled for April 25, 2016, Director General of the Progress State Research and Production Space Center Andrei Kirilin has told reporters.
"To date, the schedule of the first launch campaign envisages the launch from Vostochny at late April — on April 25," Kirilin said.
According to him, the company’s specialists are completing component tests of the equipment at the cosmodrome’s technical and launch complexes. This works are due to be completed this year, and there are no preconditions for their disruption, he noted.
On January 18, experts will begin work on the preparation of the carrier rocket and the Volga launch unit, and the spacecraft for the first launch will be delivered to the spaceport on January 20. Earlier reports said that during the first launch the Soyuz-2.1a carrier rocket would power into orbit the Lomonosov satellite, the Aist-2D satellite and the first students’ nanosatellite SamSat-218.
Earlier it was planned to carry out the first launch from Vostochny in late December. In mid-September Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed to postpone it for spring. According to him, April 12 marked in Russia as Cosmonautics Day could be the date of the first launch from the new cosmodrome.
The Vostochny (Eastern) spaceport is being built near the town of Uglegorsk in the Amur region. Photo: Launch pad and the mobile service tower at Russia's Vostochny Cosmodrome
The first launch of a manned spacecraft is scheduled for 2018. Photo: A mobile service tower
According to Putin, launch of super heavy rockets from Vostochny spaceport will be possible in the future Photo: Mobile service tower at Vostochny Cosmodrome
The launch pad at Vostochny Cosmodrome
Preparations for testing Soyuz family rocket begin at Vostochny space center
The Volga booster block and the satellites due to be orbited in the framework of the first launch effort will be loaded on Tuesday into an Ilyushin-76 cargo jet in the Russian city of Samara
Preparations for comprehensive testing of the Soyuz-2.1a launch vehicle start at Russia’s Vostochny space center in the Far-Eastern Amur region on Tuesday, the Director General of the Progress launch-vehicle manufacturing company, Alexander Kirilin told reporters. The Volga booster block and the satellites due to be orbited in the framework of the first launch effort will be loaded on Tuesday into an Ilyushin-76 cargo jet in the city of Samara where the manufacturer is located. "This cargo is to be delivered to the space center on January 22 and unloaded the next day after arrival," Kirilin said. "Then the preparation of the booster block and the satellites [for the space mission — TASS] will begin. The Soyuz-2.1a was taken to Vostochny from Samara on September 24, 2015. Under the initial schedule, the first launch from the new space center was to take place in December 2015 but President Putin proposed to put it off to 2016.
As part of the first launch effort, the carrier rocket is to take into orbit the Mikhailo Lomonosov satellite designed by students of Moscow Lomonosov State University, the first student nano-satellite SamSat-218 that was designed in the city of Samara, and the Aist-2D satellite for remote sounding of the Earth. The latter is a joint project of the Progress company and the Samara State Aerospace University where the equipment for the orientation of and control over the space probe, as well as the gauges for studying the impact of the outer spacer environment on the onboard equipment and materials were designed. SamSat-218 has the primary objective of working out the algorithms for control over nano-satellites. A special communications and control device installed aboard and connected to the GlobalStar mobile telephony system will be used for telephone calls aboard with the aid of a mobile terminal and getting the necessary telemetric information on the progress of the flight this way.
First day of complex tests at Vostochny spaceport passes normally — Roscosmos head
The so-called "dry rollout" is a set of checks and tests on the spaceport’s launch pad when the launch vehicle is not fueled
The first day of comprehensive tests at Russia’s new Vostochny cosmodrome in the Amur region (Far East of Russia) the first launch form which is to be carried out in April, passed normally, Director General of the Roscosmos State Space Corporation Igor Komarov told reporters on Monday.
"It’s a very important moment for us today. Comprehensive tests of the launch complex, a ‘dry rollout’ of the Soyuz-2.1a space rocket have begun. The first day passed normally. The staff of all enterprises worked fine", Komarov said.
The so-called "dry rollout" is a set of checks and tests on the spaceport’s launch pad when the launch vehicle is not fueled. These works are carried out to check the launch methods and systems.
The construction of the Vostochny space launch center in the Amur region began in 2012. The total area of the cosmodrome will reach 700 square km. It is destined to become the first national facility for civilian space launches, ensuring Russia’s full-scale access to space and reducing the dependence of the Russian space industry on the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan.
The first liftoff from Vostochny was initially scheduled for late December last year but was rescheduled for 2016. Last October, Russian President Vladimir Putin inspected the construction site of the Vostochny cosmodrome and criticized delays in the schedule of works and weak control over 130 construction firms engaged in the project.
First launch from Russia's new spaceport due on April 27
The new cosmodrome’s launch facility successfully passed comprehensive tests on March 21-25
The first launch from the Vostochny Cosmodrome will be held on April 27 at 5:01 MSK, the Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities said Monday.
"The State Commission, having considered the results of comprehensive tests of the launch facility at the Vostochny Cosmodrome and preparation of the carrier rocket Soyuz 2.1a, decided to set the date of the first launch on April 27, 2016, at 5:01 MSK," the statement said.
According to the Corporation, Roscosmos specialists began prelaunch preparation of all systems of the Vostochny Cosmodrome, as well as the carrier rocket and spacecraft. The delivery of the rocket to the launch pad is scheduled for April 23, 2016.
The new cosmodrome’s launch facility successfully passed comprehensive tests on March 21-25.
It was reported earlier, that Roscosmos announced a tender for the right to sign an agreement on insuring the launch of the carrier rocket Soyuz 2.1a from the Vostochny Cosmodrome for 1.842 bln rubles ($26.95 mln).
The construction of the Vostochny Cosmodrome near the settlement of Uglegorsk was launched in 2010. The total area of the spaceport is about 700 square kilometers.