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April 25 – May 1, 2016 / Vol 35, No 17 / Hawai`i Island, USA

22 Apr 2016, 19:58 UTC
April 25 – May 1, 2016 / Vol 35, No 17 / Hawai`i Island, USA
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New Vostochny Cosmodrome Ready for First Launch, Gearing Up for New Rocket and Lunar Missions

From Amur Oblast in the Russian Far East newly certified Vostochny Cosmodrome pivots Russia space access infrastructure to the Pacific and to sovereign territory, away from Baikonur, Kazakhstan in Central Asia. Literally meaning “eastern” Vostochny consists of a vast complex occupying over 500 km2 located at 51°N approximately 600-800 km from the Ocean depending on launch azimuth. The space center is expected to permanently employ 20,000-25,000 people and RSA estimates the total cost of construction at US$2.9B, though other estimates are as high as US$13.5B. The inaugural launch is set for 02:01 UT April 27 with an RSA Soyuz-2.1a & Volga upper stage boosting the Mikhail Lomonosov ultra high energy cosmic ray observatory to Sun-synchronous geocentric orbit. The rocket is also carrying two secondary payloads for Samara Aerospace University: Aist 2, a 53-kg MicroSat in cooperation TsSKB-Progress and SamSat–218/D, a 4-kg 3U CubeSat. There are plans to begin construction at Vostochny in 2017 of an additional launch pad to host operations of the still-in-development Angara heavy-lift rocket that is expected to begin flying in 2021. Crewed flights in the next-generation piloted spacecraft known as ...

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