Putin hails first rocket launch from new cosmodrome after delay (Update)

April 28, 2016

A Russian Soyuz 2.1a rocket carrying Lomonosov, Aist-2D and SamSat-218 satellites lifts off from the new Vostochny cosmodrome outside the city of Uglegorsk, in Russia's far eastern Amur region, on April 28, 2016
Russia launched the first rocket from its new Vostochny cosmodrome on Thursday, with President Vladimir Putin hailing the event after dressing down officials over a delay caused by a technical glitch.

The launch is a major milestone for Russia's beleaguered space sector, with the new spaceport in the country's far east touted to mark a rebirth of an industry plagued by a string of embarrassments in recent years.

Carrying three satellites, the Soyuz 2.1a rocket took off at 11:01 am (0201 GMT), the Roscosmos national space agency said in a statement, after the countdown was automatically halted for technical reasons 24 hours previously.

National television showed the rocket taking off into a blue sky in light winds, although foreign media organisations including AFP were not allowed to enter the new space centre.

Putin was present for the take-off.

"You know they say that the proof of the pudding is in the eating. You have to make the first launch to confirm the cosmodrome is ready for work. And you did it!" Putin told industry officials.

"I want to congratulate you. We can be proud. It's a serious and important contribution to the development of the Russian space industry," he added.

"Yesterday the technical side was put to the test and the launch had to be stopped, but it happens. It's a normal thing."

Russian President Vladimir Putin watches the launch of a Soyuz 2.1a rocket, carrying Lomonosov, Aist-2D and SamSat-218 satellites, at the new Vostochny cosmodrome outside the city of Uglegorsk, in the far eastern Amur region, on April 28, 2016

The postponement of Vostochny's inaugural launch had seen the Russian strongman scold space chiefs—despite delays worldwide being relatively frequent.

A European launch from French Guiana had to be put off three times last week before finally taking place on Monday.

The Russian delay was due to a malfunction of a cable, a space agency spokesman Mikhail Fadeyev, told AFP.

Putin officially reprimanded Dmitry Rogozin, the deputy prime minister in charge of the space and defence industries, and Roscosmos head Igor Komarov over the delay, his spokesman told reporters.

'World leader'

Construction on the new spaceport began in 2012 but has been marred by labour disputes, corruption scandals and delays.

The first satellite launch had been scheduled for late 2015, but setbacks forced authorities to review the timetable.

"Despite all its failings, Russia remains the world leader in the number of space launches," Putin told a meeting of space officials on Wednesday.

A Russian Soyuz 2.1a rocket, carrying Lomonosov, Aist-2D and SamSat-218 satellites, lifts off from the launch pad of the new Vostochny cosmodrome outside the city of Uglegorsk, in Russia's far eastern Amur region, on April 28, 2016
"But the fact that we're encountering a large number of failures is bad. There must be a timely and professional reaction."

The new spaceport in the far eastern Amur region has been hailed by Putin as Russia's biggest current building project with a budget estimated at 300-400 billion rubles ($4.5-6 billion, 4-5.3 billion euros).

Some 10,000 workers have been building 115 kilometres (70 miles) of roads in the immense, sparsely populated region, as well as 125 kilometres of railways and a town with housing for 25,000 people.

The Kremlin's goal is to ease Russia's dependence on Baikonur in Kazakhstan, a launchpad Moscow has been forced to rent at a cost of $115 million a year since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

But Deputy Prime Minister Rogozin said Russia would continue to use Baikonur to launch manned missions until 2023, and the Soyuz 2.1a would be the only launch from Vostochny in 2016.

Roscosmos plans to hold two launches from Vostochny next year and six to eight launches in 2018, said Fadeyev.

'Playing catch-up'

Political analyst Alexei Makarkin said Thursday's launch was a clear success and all the more important against a backdrop of an economic crisis brought on by low oil prices and Western sanctions over Moscow's role in Ukraine.

"Space right now is an attribute of greatness," he told AFP.

"Russia now is trying to catch up in the space industry. Outside the commodities sector we don't have a lot of competitive industries. What else can we offer the world?"

Russia is also home to the Plesetsk cosmodrome in the north, which is used for satellite launches and missile testing.

Vostochny, like Baikonur, is closer to the equator, making launches cheaper and more energy-efficient.

The new cosmodrome currently has one launchpad for the Soyuz, the only rocket currently being used for manned space flights.

A second construction phase will begin next year to build a reinforced launchpad for the new Angara rocket, which is being tested to replace the ageing Proton workhorse rockets.

Explore further: Putin slams Russian space failures after delayed launch

Related Stories

Putin plays up Russia-US cooperation in space

April 12, 2016

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday highlighted the ability of Russia and the United States to cooperate closely in space, despite all of the difficulties the two countries face on Earth.

Putin slams delays in building showpiece cosmodrome

October 14, 2015

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday criticised delays in the construction of a new cosmodrome in the country's far east, which has been plagued by corruption and strikes over unpaid wages.

Recommended for you

See a passing comet this Sunday

December 14, 2018

On Sunday, Dec. 16, the comet known as 46P/Wirtanen will make one of the 10 closest comet flybys of Earth in 70 years, and you may even be able to see it without a telescope.

Mars InSight lander seen in first images from space

December 14, 2018

On Nov. 26, NASA's InSight mission knew the spacecraft touched down within an 81-mile-long (130-kilometer-long) landing ellipse on Mars. Now, the team has pinpointed InSight's exact location using images from HiRISE, a powerful ...

Video: Enjoying the Geminids from above and below

December 14, 2018

On the night of December 13, into the morning of December 14, 2018, tune into the night sky for a dazzling display of fireballs. Thanks to the International Space Station, this sky show – the Geminids meteor shower—will ...

9 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

KBK
1.7 / 5 (6) Apr 28, 2016
"Now it's just an oligarchy, with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nominations for president or to elect the president. And the same thing applies to governors, and U.S. senators and congress members." -President Jimmy Carter

Then a major US university publishes a Study showing that 90% of US media is controlled by 255 companies and ultimately 6 people of a very specific ethnic origin.

Thus we end up with a 'Putin strongman' subtle jab, even even here, on physorg. As physorg is obviously controlled out of the US.

And more subtle colorations of truth, desperately trying to dance and look like neutrality and reason.

Corporo-fascist-oligarchy, trying to look like it does not exist, but the people are noticing. Very much so.

An oligrachy trying hard to control all public knowing and opinion.

It's a war and death fomenting take down, folks... one steeped in the same sociopath imperialism of the past +2000 years.
gkam
2.3 / 5 (9) Apr 28, 2016
Pootie knows that politicians are much smarter than the rest of us.

Or maybe just more powerful.
obama_socks
1.7 / 5 (6) Apr 28, 2016
Congratulations to President Putin and the Russian Federation. Glad to have them aboard...and the spacerace continues.
Yesterday, Mr. Putin threatened to have all those responsible for the flight not taking off on time, or had sabotaged some instrument, with jail instead of "house arrest". I guess they are safe now.
antigoracle
2.3 / 5 (6) Apr 28, 2016
Look at the other guy in that picture. I can just imagine what's going through his mind...."Look at that neck... someone hand me a knife..quick".
obama_socks
1.7 / 5 (6) Apr 29, 2016
Look at the other guy in that picture. I can just imagine what's going through his mind...."Look at that neck... someone hand me a knife..quick".


Yes, he does seem to be quite interested in Putin's neck, which is how the picture appears.
I am curious as to what type of instruments are on those Russian satellites? Spying, perhaps? Maybe even American satellite killers? A shootout in NEO? Putin does seem to be a bit harried over this launch.
BongThePuffin
May 01, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
kochevnik
1 / 5 (1) May 02, 2016
"Space right now is an attribute of greatness," he told AFP.


Ya think? Call me old fashioned by some inkling of what respect for human life means and perhaps a rough conception of responsibility for one's actions would come a bit higher on the list.
Coming from a resident of a narcodollar terror sponsoring NAZI-sympathizing fascist failing empire, that's laughable. How are the negative interest rates working for you?
kochevnik
5 / 5 (1) May 02, 2016
Look at the other guy in that picture. I can just imagine what's going through his mind...."Look at that neck... someone hand me a knife..quick".


Yes, he does seem to be quite interested in Putin's neck, which is how the picture appears
Nice try, but that's more the Russian equivalent of "What's up?"
gkam
1 / 5 (5) May 02, 2016
I'll bet kochev has pictures of Pootie bare-chested everywhere in the house.

Probably has the official Pootie-poot Calendar, too.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.