Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 74

According to Lt. Gen. Vladimir Durnev, the deputy commander of Russia’s Military Space Forces, construction work on the facilities for launching the heavy liquid-fuel "Angara" rocket from the new Russian Svobodny cosmodrome in Amur oblast and the necessary infrastructure will cost no less than $1.5 billion. In his words, construction of the new launch pad at Svobodny will cost about as much as it cost to build the Bratsk hydroelectric power station (one of the largest in Russia), and commercial investors will clearly have to be brought into the project. (Delovoi mir, No. 48, April 1997)

Durnev also said that Russia’s Military Space Forces, which have control over the Svobodny cosmodrome, are in "critical" financial condition. According to his experts, it will take 10 to 12 years to make Svobodny into a cosmodrome comparable with the former Soviet facility at Baikonur, which now belongs to Kazakstan. (Delovoi mir, No. 48, April 1997) At the same time, Baikonur, which was rented out for 20 years from Kazakstan in 1994, will cost Russia $2.3 billion. And it is possible that the rent could be raised to a significantly higher level than the present figure of $115 million per year.

After the disintegration of the USSR in 1991 the Russian armed forces were left without their own launching facility. But the Military Space Forces continue to use the Baikonur facilities to launch various types of spacecraft into orbit, including foreign — primarily European and American — satellites. The various modules of the proposed international space station Alpha will be launched into space by rockets belonging to the Russian armed forces. As for the Russian Space Agency, which is the main contractor for foreign clients who want to use Russia’s space capabilities, this institution does not have its own means of launching spacecraft, and has to resort to the services of the Military Space Forces.

"The People Aren’t The Problem."