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Russia Launches Rocket from Newly-built Vostochny Cosmodrome
   2016-04-28 19:47:51    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Guan Chao

Photo taken on April 28, 2016 shows the launch of the Soyuz-2.1a carrier rocket with three small satellites -- Lomonosov, Aist-2D and SamSat-218 from the newly built Vostochny Cosmodrome in the Far Eastern Amur region. [Photo: Xinhua]

Russia's newest spaceport, the Vostochny, or Eastern Cosmodrome, is officially operational, launching its first rocket this Thursday after a last-minute delay a day earlier.

A Soyuz rocket carrying three satellites has been successfully launched from the facility, which is located in the Amur region, just north of the border with China in the Russian Far East.

Igor Komarov is CEO of Russian state-run space firm Roscosmos.

"The ground facilities of Vostochny cosmodrome played a significant role today. As such, today is the day that the cosmodrome is put into official use. Ground facilities work well. I believe all systems work well. The Soyuz-2.1A rocket completed its 1,860th launch as usual, and fulfilled its mission. Now we will wait for the Volga propeller to boost equipment, which was developed by students, to orbit."

Russian President Vladimir Putin was on-hand for the launch, hailing it as a significant step forward in Russia's space program.

Construction of the new spaceport started in 2012, with costs estimated as high as 6-billion US dollars.

The new Cosmodrome has the capacity to launch rockets large enough to carry major payloads, including manned missions.

Moscow is hoping the new facility will ease its dependence on the use of the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

While facility is Russian-operated, the Russian government has to lease it from the Kazakh government for 115-million US dollars a year.

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