Russia has labored for years to bring its new Vostochny Cosmodrome online. In the early morning hours of Dec. 24, a key milestone was passed with the rollout of the spaceport's first semi-commercial launch. The launch went off perfectly Dec. 27, but many questions about the future of the launch facility — intended to replace the Baikonur Cosmodrome — linger amid economic turmoil and shifting priorities for the Russian space program. Credit: Matthew Bodner for SpaceNews
A Soyuz 2.1A rocket lifts off Dec. 27 from Vostochny Cosmodrome carrying a pair Kanopus-V 5 remote sensing satellites and a secondary payload of 26 smallsats arranged by GK Launch Services. Credit: GK Launch Services
Soyuz launch from Vostochny
Soyuz launch from Vostochny