Vladimir for Life Putin visited Russia’s delay- and scandal-plagued Vostochny spaceport on Wednesday and officially threw in the towel on the effort to launch a rocket from the Far East cosmodrome by the end of the year.
“We do not need any drumbeating reports, we need high-quality results,” Putin said. “So let us agree: you finish the work related to water supply and wastewater disposal. It is necessary to prepare spaceships for launches. And be ready to carry out the first launches in 2016, somewhere in the spring.”
“If you do that before Cosmonautics Day, that will be fine,” the president added.
The project, designed to lessen Russian dependence on the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, has been troubled by lengthy delays and embezzlement scandals. Workers have complained about not being paid for months while executives from some companies have been arrested for alleged graft.
Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin ha threatened to tear the heads off anyone delaying the program. No reports yet on whether he has carried out any of these threats.