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Waspie_Dwarf

New Manned Rocket Launch Pad

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Russia to Start Building New Manned Rocket Launch Pad in 2015

MOSCOW, February 24 (RIA Novosti) – Russia is planning to start construction of a launch pad for a new heavy-class carrier rocket at a future space center in the Far East next year to set the stage for its maiden manned launch in 2018.

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Weren't they still using the ones originally built in the fifties?

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Weren't they still using the ones originally built in the fifties?

There are two Soyuz launch pads at Baikonur. Site 31 is rarely used. Site 1, also known as Gagarin's Start, is where most manned launches occur. As the name implies it is where Gagarin's Vostok 1 mission was launched from in 1961. It is also where Sputnik 1 was launched from in 1957.

It made sense to continue to use these pads as the Soyuz launch vehicle is an (albeit highly evolved) version of the R7 rocket which launched Sputnik and Vostok. The Soyuz spacecraft is itself a 4th generation vehicle based on a craft that first flew in 1967.

The move away from Baikonur is as much political as it is scientific. Russia finds itself in the awkward position of launching it's missions to the ISS from another nation's territory, Kazakhstan. The new Vostochny will mean that more space flights will be launched from Russian soil than is now possible.

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