Vostochny update

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This article provides a good updated overview of the status of Russia’s new Vostochny spaceport.

It appears they will finally begin ramping up the launch rate with Soyuz rockets in 2018.



  • LocalFluff

    In words it always seems as if the Russians are up to something new in space. But they still fly the Soyuz (Sputnik launcher á la 1957) and Proton since 52 years. And operate a space station or a half in LEO. Sure, this has been super great and leading in human space exploration, for several decades! But, isn’t it now facing competitive challenges that it lacks dynamics to counter effectively? The Russian space launcher development pipeline looks very empty. Only words echo throughout it’s length from Moscow to East Siberia.

    In the 2020s there might no longer be any Russian orbital launches at all. I bet 50/50 on that.

  • Dick Eagleson

    I don’t disagree with your general sentiment, but I think the 2020’s is a bit early for the curtain on Russian space effort to be rung down.

    ISS will be going until at least 2024, very possibly longer. Russia will continue to launch crew and cargo there until it’s gone, whenever that turns out to be. After ISS goes, though, there may well be no more manned Russian space program. I don’t give those Russian plans to take their ISS modules, add some more that have been ground-bound for years and make their own “ISS-ski” much credence. Russia, put simply, can’t afford to do this.

    Russia will still launch satellites for its own purposes, but few or none will be commercial launches for non-Russian clients as the 2020’s wear on. And the satellite launchers will be Soyuzes and Protons. The Angara seems to be on an SLS-like development schedule that keeps moving rightward at about the same rate as the calendar. If it ever actually enters service, Angara will fly infrequently. Both Baikonur and Vostochny may be ghost towns in two more decades. Plesetsk will still operate as the Russian military needs to do missile tests. But there will be fewer of these as well.

    In short, the Russian space program, like Russia itself in the longer term, will most probably expire with a whimper rather than a bang. It will resemble a process more than an event. The actual end of the program might only be evident retrospectively.

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