Rogozin Enlists Russian Citizens to Monitor Work at Vostochny

Rogozin Enlists Russian Citizens to Monitor Work at Vostochny

Irritated by continuing delays in construction of Russia’s new Vostochny launch site, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said today that he will use webcams to allow “people’s monitoring” of construction there by the citizenry at large.   The new launch site is intended to replace much of Russia’s use of the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, but its construction has dragged on for many years.

Rogozin oversees Russia’s space sector and he and other high level Russian officials. including President Vladimir Putin, have visited the site in Russia’s Far East many times and routinely complain about the delays in construction.  Rogozin just completed another visit and said today that “the state of affairs … leaves much to be desired.” 

Acknowledging that the weather in that region of the country is “hard,” he said that is all the more reason for the work to be well organized.

He plans to increase supervision not only by himself, but by the people of the country, using webcams.  Concerned about continuing delays last year, he had webcams installed that allow him to monitor progress using his office computer.  He now plans to expand that opportunity to the citizenry at large. “This is people’s construction project and I want the webcams that we installed at the mail facilities to be connected not only to my Moscow office computer, but also to the websites of Roscosmos and [Military-Industrial Commission] Collegium. … this will be a kind of ‘people’s monitoring’ over the construction progress,” Rogozin said.

Russia’s plans to build a new launch site in the Russian Far East date back to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, which left one of its main launch sites, Baikonur, in a different country – Kazakhstan, previously a Soviet republic.  Russia has been leasing Baikonur from Kazakhstan since then, but wants a new site within Russian borders to fully or partially replace its launch activities there.  In the mid-1990s, the decision was made to convert a former strategic missile site, Svobodny 18, in the Amur region near the city of Blagoveshensk, into a space launch site. 

Work at Svobodny proceeded slowly and although a few space launches were conducted there using Start-1 and Rokot, Putin discontinued the project in 2007.  The idea of a new launch site in that region was soon resurrected, however, and within a few months plans for a launch site, Vostochny, nearby were announced.  Construction of launch pads capable of supporting Soyuz-2 and the new Angara launch vehicle family has been a slow process.  Rogozin and Putin have made a number of trips to the site, each time complaining about the lack of progress.  Last fall, Putin pledged 50 billion rubles ($1.2 billion) to accelerate construction, but judging by Rogozin’s comments today, the situation remains unsatisfactory.

A 2012 Roscosmos video (in English) features Putin explaining the importance of the new site, which is described as the centerpiece of a future new “science city.”  At the time the video was made, the goal was for the first launch to take place in 2015 and for human spaceflight launches to begin in 2016.  Today, the goal apparently still is for a first launch this year, but human spaceflights have slipped to 2018.

User Comments has the right (but not the obligation) to monitor the comments and to remove any materials it deems inappropriate.  We do not post comments that include links to other websites since we have no control over that content nor can we verify the security of such links.