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Russia to build new space launch centre

world Updated: Sep 07, 2009 20:59 IST

Russia, which is leasing the former Soviet Baikonur cosmodrome from Kazakhstan, will start the construction of a new modern space launch centre in the far eastern part of the country in 2011, a top military official said on Monday.

Besides Baikonur, Russia currently uses the Plesetsk space centre at Archangelsk region in the European part of the country for space launches and ballistic missiles tests.

The construction of the Vostochny (Eastern) cosmodrome would commence from 2011 and completed in 2018, Chief of the Federal Service for Special (military) Works, Army General Nikolai Abroskin said.

"In all, seven launch pads are to be built at the space centre, including two for manned flights and two for space freighters," General Abroskin was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti.

He said an inter-agency working group had been created, and work to design elements of the station's infrastructure was in progress.

According to earlier reports, the Vostochny cosmodrome would be constructed on the site of a former strategic missile base in Amur region close to the Chinese border, which was closed as confidence building measure after Moscow's relations improved with Beijing.