Russia completes Soyuz launchpad at Vostochny

Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar to the right or below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.

The competition heats up: Russia has completed assembly of the Soyuz-2 launch system at Vostochny a month ahead of schedule.

I must say that this story confuses me. Just this past weekend it was reported in the Russian press that they were abandoning efforts to build a Soyuz launchpad for manned flights at Vostochny and would instead focus on Angara. Why then are they finishing this Soyuz-2 launchpad now, and ahead of schedule?

One theory: The new launchpad might be for a new upgraded Soyuz rocket to be used for unmanned missions and thus different than the manned launchpad.

Or it might be that even though the government canceled it, workers continued to work on it and finished it, unaware of the cancellation. It is not unusual in big government projects for the right hand to not know what the left hand is doing.

UPDATE: My first theory was correct. Anatoly Zak of has confirmed to me in an email that they only cancelled manned Soyuz flights at Vostochny. This launchpad will be used for an upgraded Soyuz rocket for unmanned flights.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *