Question: Mr President, what are your impressions of the space launch centre?
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good. We started planning this work a long time back. The presidential executive order was signed in 2007, but the work only really began towards the end of 2011. The preparations and selection of the actual site took a long time. There was an initial proposal to build it on the Pacific coast, but after analysing the work of a space launch centre in a similar site in the United States, the specialists concluded that there was frequent bad weather throughout the year and said we should choose a different site.
A working group was formed especially to choose the best site, and they eventually chose this place, taking into account all of the different factors, including the transport aspect. As you know, there is a road here, we built it, and I inspected it two years ago. There is a railway line too, and quite a lot of convenient free space. It will be quite a convenient site from the point of view of future landings. True, the specialists say that the landings will take place off the coast, and so the cosmonauts will land not on land, but on water.
Question: Will Baikonur lose some of its work?
Vladimir Putin: No, Baikonur will keep working too. We are organising things in such a way as to keep using Baikonur too in the future. This will be together with our Kazakhstani colleagues of course. You have to remember that Baikonur was built during the Soviet period and has aged a lot since then. We hope – I am certain in fact – that this site will be a lot more effective in many respects, and not only because it will use the latest technology, but also because it will operate a lot more economically.
As we discussed just before with the head of the Russian Space Agency, the length of roads and railways will be twice shorter, and the same will be true for the infrastructure component as a whole. This site will therefore be cheaper and much more effective. It will also be the centre for the plans the cosmonauts referred to just now. We have future plans for work on the Moon and on Mars, and this will all start from here because it is here that we will have the facilities for launching super-heavy launch vehicles with capacity of up to 75 tons.