Russia Announces $800 Million Spaceport

MOSCOW, July 20 (UPI) — Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin says his country will build a new $800 million spaceport in the country’s Far East, close to its border with China.

The new cosmodrome, to be built in the Far Eastern Amur region, will ease dependency on the Baikonur launch site in Kazakhstan built in the Soviet era, BBC News reported Tuesday.

Schedule to be operational by 2015, it will be used mostly for civilian launches, Putin announced.

As many as 30,000 specialists would build the new Vostochny space launch facility, Anatoly Perminov, head of the Russian space agency, said.

Vostochny means “eastern” in Russian.

It would be smaller that Baikonur, which Russia now rents from Kazakhstan, Perminov said.

In his announcement, Putin encouraged more international cooperation in space, citing the International Space Station as an example.

When the United States shuttle program is phased out in 2011, the only means to get to the ISS will be by Russian-launched Soyuz spacecraft, the BBC said.

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