Putin Pledges Investment in New Spaceport [BBC]
According to BBC News, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said the country will invest more than $800 million in a new launch facility that will be ready by 2015 and be capable of supporting cosmonaut launches by 2018. The primarily civilian facility, to be located in Russia’s Far East region near China, would reduce the country’s dependence on the venerable Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
“‘The government has made a decision to earmark 24.7 billion rubles ($809m) over the next three years for the start of the full-blown construction of the Vostochny cosmodrome,’ Mr Putin said.”
Whether Russia will actually follow through with the investment remains to be seen. Russian officials have been talking for the last decade about investing in a new cosmodrome to reduce dependence on Baikonur — which frequently is at the center of disagreements between Russia and Kazakhstan — but there is little to show for it.