Russia Inaugurates New Spaceport With Soyuz Launch

With President Vladimir Putin looking on, a Soyuz-2.1a rocket lifted off from Russia’s new Vostochny Cosmodrome and successfully orbited three satellites.

It was the inaugural launch for the multi-billion dollar spaceport, which has been four years and numerous arrests in the making. The launch complex, which is designed to reduce Russian dependence on the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, has been plagued by reports of corruption and unpaid workers. One manager was arrested driving a diamond encrusted Mercedes.

The Soyuz rocket’s main payload was the Mikhailo Lomonosov satellite, which carries instruments to study high-energy cosmic rays, gamma rays and the Earth’s atmosphere. It also carried two smaller secondary payloads named Aist 2 and SamSat 218. Media reports indicate all three spacecraft were deployed successfully.

The launch was delayed a day due to a technical problem with the rocket.

  • Congrats on a new launch site.

    But from a more critical standpoint, how does this new launch site help Russia? (Yeah, I know the history, it’s not particularly good) Is there a separate launch team for Vostochny? If no, then are then going to scale back launches to allow for the launch team to travel between the two locations? Where are the flight operations performed from? Is Semara gonna ramp up to produce enough Soyuz rockets for 3 launch sites now?

  • Enrique Moreno

    What a beautiful launch!

  • Barmaglot

    It’s four sites, isn’t it? Baikonur, Plesetsk, Kourou, and now Vostochny.

  • Jacob Samorodin

    I understand that the project director for the construction of that new spaceport has been arrested, apparently under orders from Putin. Where will he be taken to serve his sentence? Siberia?

  • ‮‮‮

    It’s auxiliary to Baikonur, which is leased until at least 2050. Vostochny mostly meant as a domestic more or less universal launch site since Baikonur is in another country and Plesetsk is limited to high inclinations. Yeah, there’s separate launch personnel, the launches will be occasional though (no launch complex for Angara yet), and the production is limited by the market capacity so no huge increase for SRC Progress. The launches are directly operated from the site. Angara will be produced in Omsk (hence its introduction delay, they are transferring the whole production there from Moscow) and launched from Vostochny.

  • Quattro Bajeena

    Think of it this way. Plesetsk is used mainly to launch satellites to polar orbit kind of like Vandenberg. Vostochny is supposed to replace Baikonur so they can have a launch site closer to the equator for GEO launches inside Russia. In the long run they will probably drop unmanned Soyuz launches from Baikonur. The question is about Proton, Angara, and manned Soyuz launches which currently can only be done from Baikonur. Last I heard the Vostochny Angara site was either cancelled or delayed. In the long run Soyuz isn’t enough even if it can launch most current satellite payloads.

  • Pete Zaitcev

    Yet ironically the first launch of Angara A5 from Plesetsk went to GEO and the first launch from Vostochnyi went to SSO.

  • Pete Zaitcev

    In the 1980s, Progress was making 80 to 90 Soyuz rockets per year. That is about as much as the whole world launches through the 2010s. It’s no big stretch for them to make 20 Soyuz vehicles for each of the 4 Souyz launch sites every year — as long as someone is willing to pay.