Russia has announced it plans to spend $10 billion on a new cosmodrome 60 miles from its border with China, the AP reports.The massive investment will see $1 million spent this year alone on the Vostochny centre, part of a $5 million annual budget for Russia’s space program.
While that number is still some way off NASA’s $18 billion 2011 budget, it should be noted Russia enjoys vastly cheaper labour costs.
Vladimir Putin is billing the action as a huge stimulus for the region. “Creating the cosmodrome will serve as a catalyst for development of the entire Far East region, fully helping to utilise the industrial potential of the Far East and Siberia,” he said, Bloomberg reports.
The Russian Prime Minister said the nearby city would feature 40 apartment buildings and be a “comfortable, modern” city. There are also hopes that the launch pad could be used commercially in the future, Ria Novosti reports.
The project is a move away from the Russian space agency’s reliance on a space launch pad in Kazakhstan, which costs the country $115 million in rent every year.
If everything goes according to plan, the station will be operational by 2015, with manned flights from 2018. The hope is to put recent setbacks — such as the failure of the country’s recent Mars probe — behind them.
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