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Success: maiden launch sends 3 satellites into orbit

By 0 and 0 and 0
28 April 2016


Vostochny Cosmodrome could be used for moon missions in future. Picture: RosCosmos

The inaugural unmanned Soyuz-2.1A launch from the new Amur region spaceport went off without a hitch, 24 hours after a technical glitch halted the scheduled liftoff on Wednesday. President Vladimir Putin was among those watching the maiden launch at Vostochny, which in the coming decades is expected to host Russia's reach for the moon and Mars. 

Many locals also watched the historic debut flight from the country's new cosmodrome. 

'I want to congratulate you. There is something to be proud of,' Putin told cosmodrome workers and Roskosmos officials.

'The equipment overreached itself a little bit yesterday,' he said.

'We could have held the launch yesterday, but the equipment overdid its job and stopped the launch. This is a normal thing.'

Vostochny first launch

Vostochny first launch

Vostochny first launch
Off we go! Vostochny maiden launch. Pictures: RosCosmos

The successful launch follows delays and allegations of corruption at the vast Vostochny construction site, close to the Chinese border, on the eastern edge of Siberia. 

The spaceport - the first civilian rocket launch site on Russian territory - will gradually reduce the country's dependence on Baikonur cosmodrome, leased from the government of Kazakhstan. 

Putin immediately demanded that space chiefs look to the future in establishing the new spaceport, some 5,600 kilometres east of Moscow. 

'The main thing is that this launch pad is now working, it has been prepared well by you and it is functioning,' he said. 'We are now facing a second stage here, to accommodate a heavy rocket. We have a lot of work in front of us, and it's daunting. 

'But, beyond all doubt, this is ... a very serious step forward in the development of Russia's space exploration.'

A day earlier he made clear his concern over a series of failures and problems which have blighted the space industry recently. 

Vostochny first launch

Vostochny first launch

Vostochny first launch

Vostochny first launch

Vostochny first launch
People watch the first launch around the Far East of Russia. Pictures: Amur Pravda, Elena Rudenko 

After Wedensday's launch was aborted around two minutes before blastoff, he said the 'malfunction' could not be blamed on the new cosmodrome facilities. 

'I want to hear how the post-launch analysis is being carried out. Without any doubt, conclusions will have to be made,' he made clear. 'Of course, we remain in the lead despite all shortfalls, Russia is still leading in terms of the number of [successful] launches - which is good.

'But the number of failures we've seen lately is a bad thing. There should be an urgent professional response.

Three satellites - Lomonosov, Aist-2D, and SamSat-218 - were put into orbit on Thursday. 

Children were evacuated from a village on the flight path immediately after launch, it was confirmed today. They watched the flight from another site. 

Kremlin Chief of Staff Sergei Ivanov said Russia's Vostochny Cosmodrome could be used for moon missions in future.

'It is a bit too early to talk about the Lunar [programme], because that requires appropriate space technology, but in the future I think yes,' he said.

Comments (7)

Congrats, onward to Mars.
Tony, USA
23/06/2016 05:42
This is fantastic news, last time I read about this project, things did not look good with it being allegedly well behind schedule and surrounded by other allegations of corruption. So congratulations to all concerned in turning that around, and successfully completing a launch. Hopefully you'll keep onwards & upwards. Sad that this achievement doesn't appear to have been reported in or on the Western media, seems they're too busy complaining about Russian pilots belly rolling US spy planes over in the Baltic.
Simon Robinson, Blackburn, England
02/05/2016 22:37
well suppose there were a few VERY red heads. and some directors will have a lot of explaining to do. get rid of these old ´red´left overs, chair pushers and vodka slurpers. get young professional scientists out there. with a good salary, incentives that make it worth their while to stay there. and not leave after they had finished their studies. and the cosmodrome WILl work. there will be setbacks, no doubt about it. the USA have them and the French-EU in French Guiana. retire the old guard and let them dream how great the cccp was.and let young people work to show the world how great RUSSIA is!
Benedikt, Moscow
29/04/2016 11:51

It is time to change the name of the "Far East" federal district to "Rospacific", for example, because Vostochny is not far away, but a part of Russia as much as Moscow.
Enrique, Spain
29/04/2016 00:03
My sincere congratulations to your President and,indeed,to the Russian people.

Very good luck to the new operational Russian space port.
François de La Grange, aix-en-provence. France
28/04/2016 23:18
Congratulations and onwards to the future absolutely. I totally agree that a key step in moving foward is a comprehensive assessment of what has happened and then the lessons learned can be applied and will increase the success of the next phase. Well done to everyone involved. This is very encouraging for the entire Internation Space Community.
Pamela Tetarenko, League City, USA
28/04/2016 20:10
Rocket launch is magic (but many pollution...). Conquest of space is a new frontier, a dream.
Ariane launch were very often stopped for the schédule day , It is normal and not a real problèm.
Jocelyne, FRANCE
28/04/2016 16:34

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