Amur Region Gets New Space Center

Vostochny Cosmodrome, which is to be built in the Amur Region, will be ready for its first manned space launch in 2018, First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said Wednesday, Interfax reported.

"[President Vladimir Putin] signed a decree approving the construction of a new Russian cosmodrome on Nov. 6," Ivanov told reporters during a visit to Samara.

The new cosmodrome will reduce Russia's dependency on the Baikonur launch pad, which it leases from Kazakhstan. Ivanov said, however, that Russia had no immediate plans to abandon the Baikonur Cosmodrome, from which it conducts missions to the international space station and most of the launches to geosynchronous satellites.

Anatoly Perminov, the director of the Federal Space Agency, has also previously said Russia -- which already has one full-fledged cosmodrome in Plesetsk in the Arkhangelsk region -- has no plans to abandon Baikonur.