Russia, whose space programme relies heavily on a base in neighbouring Kazakhstan, is to build its own launch site for manned flights by 2018, First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov was quoted as saying Wednesday.
The new Vostochny base in the Amur region of southeast Russia, bordering China, will be an alternative to the Baikonur base, a Soviet-built facility that Russia now leases from Kazakhstan.
"To use a military term, we will open a 'second front,'" Ivanov said, Russian news agencies RIA Novosti and Interfax reported.
"By 2016 the new cosmodrome should be ready for rocket launches of any type and by 2018 it is planned that we will also be able to make manned flights from there," Ivanov said.
"It is linked to ensuring our country's independent access to space. In fact we are building not just a special facility in the Amur region, but a true city."
So, not only are they building a new launch site, they are building it in the Far East.
N/M that transporting to and from that area will be a costly nightmare.