The long-awaited Vostochny Cosmodrome has made its first space launch, a Soyuz carrier rocket sending into orbit three satellites from the spaceport located in the Amur Oblast in the Russian Far East
You will be watching the last 13 minutes of a story that began six years ago.
In 2010, underlining the importance of the construction of the facility, then-Prime Minister Putin stated that the “creation of a new space center...is one of modern Russia’s biggest and most ambitious projects…[i]t will give us the opportunity...to confirm Russia’s leading technological status…”
Construction originally began in 2011 and was scheduled to be completed in 2018. But due to a series of delays involving funding problems as well as a corruption scandal, the completion date was pushed back to 2021. Putin then went in hard, taking personal control of the construction.
So rather than 2021 or 2018, the first launch was scheduled for 27 April 2016, which Putin personally flew in to watch. However, due to a technical issue, the launch had to be aborted.
But given the personal stock Putin had put into it, he informed that he wasn’t going anywhere and would hang back until the following day’s meeting of a government commission to set a new launch date. Incidentally, Putin mentioned that heads would roll, and his press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, let it be known that if they decided to make another launch attempt on that same day, well then how nice it would that Putin would still be in town to witness it.
Fortuitously, a decision to launch that very day was made while Putin was still around.
The President congratulated the staff of the facility but reminded them that there is “a lot of work up ahead, but this was certainly a very serious, significant step in the development of Russian cosmonautics.”
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