Russia is all set to build a new space launch facility, and has its eye on a completion date in 2015. The announcement is yet more confirmation of the rising temperature of international competition in space exploration, and of Russia's determination to be beholden to no one in its bid to conquer the stars. According to local …
Have they still not learned that they need to be putting their money to better use?
Sorry, couldn't resist
There might be a few hard to pronounce Russian words in the article, but try to say the title of the article really fast five times.
Not the ideal location
I get why Russia wants their very own launch site, but Amur is quite a bit further north than Baikonur, which is already a whole lot further north than Florida or New Mexico. That's a lot of "free" speed to give up.
But then I guess Russia doesn't have much territory near the equator these days.
What about Cuba?
A Russian launch site on Cuba would give them all the advantages that the US, France, UK, etc. already have...
...Oh, wait. They did this in 1962 didn't they...
(sound of door not hitting me in my arse...)
Russian Launch site @ Cuba
Actually, I'd be all for it. The 1962 crisis was triggered not only because of the USSR planned silos at Cuba, but also because of similar "too-near" silos the US was placing in Turkey.
A cosmodrome in Cuba would give the Russians a nice advantage and it would also give a kick in the nuts to Bush placing that stupid missile site in former USSR countries. ;)
Well, since the primary driver here is to have the thing on their own territory, there's a small problem with this (hint: look at a map of the island in question, it has C-U-B-A written on it, not R-U-S-S-I-A).
Also a problem is that a quick look at the atlas reveals that Cuba is at a somewhat inconvenient distance from Russia.
If they're prepared to accept something on foreign soil and that far away, there's an existing facility in Florida that probably has some spare capacity to rent out.
What a dull name.
Doesn't "Vostochny" translate as "eastern"?
Missiles in former USSR
They're SAM sites. You can't do anything offensive with them. Russia would actually have to send jets over Poland to actually be attacked by them.
Why not Heathrow?
Bring in lots of tourists. lots of lolly for the airport authority, lots of export earnings for HMG, lots of capital investment and interest for the bankers. No need for another runway there just to have happy bunnies. Not forgetting the happy hippies. Win, win, win, win, win, win. OK, noise might be an occasional problem, but on balance I think we should bid for it.
Russia already has an equatorial launch site, the Zenit Sealaunch project. Zenit SL launched a number of geosyncronous satellites in 2006. They've been down for repairs after a launch failure, but Zenit seems to be competative with Ariane and Proton (also Russian) which are the other two major vehicles.
Manned missions need to reach ISS presumably, so it's not generally important or desirable to put manned missions into equatorial orbits, and therefore not as important to place those facilities on the equator. There is still some energy advantage, but it's less important the more inclined the orbit is.
- Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
- Spanish village called 'Kill the Jews' mulls rebranding exercise
- NASA finds first Earth-sized planet in a habitable zone around star
- New Facebook phone app allows you to stalk your mates
- Battle of the Linux clouds! Linode DOUBLES RAM to take on Digital Ocean