Russia’s New Vostochny Cosmodrome Launches Rocket

Edited by Nelly Tawil

Russian President Vladimir Putin travelled to Siberia this week to witness the inaugural launch from the Vsotchny cosmodrome, a brand new launch pad that had been undergoing construction for four years. The launch was set to take place on Wednesday at the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, where the countdown began at 11:01 a.m. local time, yet the flight was aborted shortly before takeoff. The technical glitch thwarted the much-publicized event. According to Russian media reports resulted in President Putin reprimanding the program’s top officials, Dmitry Rogozin the Deputy Prime Minister in charge of space and defense industries and Roscosmos head Igor Komarov, his spokesman told reporters.

The launch was rescheduled for the same time Thursday where the unmanned Soyuz-2.1A rocket carrying three satellites took flight from the launch pad without any further trouble at 5:01 a.m. Moscow time.

Nine minutes into the flight showed the satellites separating fro the rocket’s third stage before heading to their designated orbits.

“I want to congratulate you. There is something to be proud of,” Mr. Putin said addressing the cosmodrome workers after watching Thursday’s launch at Vostochny.

“In principle we could have held the launch yesterday, but the equipment overdid its job and stopped the launch.

“This is a normal thing.”

The launch was an impressive moment for Moscow, which for years has promised to bring its spaceflight missions – which take off from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan – inside Russian borders.

“The main thing is that this launch pad is now working, it has been prepared well by you,” the Russian President told cosmodrome workers on Thursday.

“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.”