President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Rogozin, we met at Vostochny fairly recently, although several months have already passed, and discussed the issues of the industry’s development and the construction of the space centre. What has been done in the past period, which issues remain unresolved, and what is progressing as we agreed?
Roscosmos CEO Dmitry Rogozin: Mr President,
I would like to report on the construction of the second stage of Vostochny Space Centre. As you know, the first stage comprised the creation of the launch pad and a technical complex with infrastructure for the Soyuz 2 rocket. The second stage is for the Angara, a heavy load rocket. In accordance with your executive order, we are planning to have the first launch in 2023.
You were at the space centre on September 6, and I want to report on the work done since then. Let me show you the monitoring of the construction site that we conduct, and all the possibilities and technologies for objective analysis.
At present, we have over 1,260 workers and 140 units of equipment involved in the construction. This fully meets the construction project requirements. The work is proceeding according to schedule despite the cold weather – there are freezing temperatures out there. I personally inspect the construction site each month. There is a field office directly on site.
We decided to use Roscosmos technologies for objective monitoring, that is our orbital satellite group for remote Earth probing. We take images and compare weekly progress to make the process more or less evident. Later this data is used not just as a photo but is mathematically processed with markers indicating each change in the area of construction, work volumes and even the number of people, we see all of that.
To have more details and a complete and objective analysis of what is really going on at the facility, we make additional footage, aerial photography by drones. As a result, we think that the general directorate and the management of Roscosmos State Corporation have all the objective information about what is going on at the construction site.
Currently work is ongoing to increase the amount of labour on hand, to acquire resources and materials and build structures. A cosmodrome is obviously not just concrete and sand, it is primarily an extremely complex structure, which must hold up in line with its technologies, and this is what we monitor with utmost scrutiny.
We are building a camp to accommodate 2,010 workers in the nearest future.
Vladimir Putin: What about the camp built earlier?
Dmitry Rogozin: It is occupied currently now by the 1,260 workers we have, they live in the camps built by military construction entities of the Defence Ministry of the Russian Federation.
Vladimir Putin: So you are using them.
Dmitry Rogozin: We are using them. We are renting them, naturally, and people are living them. But this is not enough for us anyway. The peak in construction work will be next summer with approximately 5,000 workers. At any rate, we are erecting modern warm residences with heated floors, a good high-quality dormitory and a canteen.
Work is ongoing on the construction site of 13 major buildings and facilities. The key facility is the launch pad. The pit is 71 percent deep. Now, by mid-December we are unfolding large heavy-duty tents. They will provide for heating during concrete-laying works, which will be done during the winter.
I would also like to add on the remaining facilities, it is not only the launch pad; the second stage consists of 12 more facilities. The design documentation is ready; all state expert evaluations have been obtained. To avoid mistakes and loss of quality, a contract was signed with Glavgosekspertiza agency, the first ever in Russia. So as of now I have no doubt that we will finish the project within the timeframe you have set.
Vladimir Putin: How many facilities overall?
Dmitry Rogozin: 13 in total, in the second stage. But the launch pad is the most complex of them.
It should be borne in mind, Mr President, that in accordance with your decision we must already start considering a draft design of the super heavy rocket, for 2028. Naturally, the launching complex will be built earlier.
Besides, on September 6, you made a decision to start testing the Oryol cargo spaceship with the Angara rocket in 2023. It means we have to make some adjustments to our plans, deploy a low pressure chamber and many other infrastructure objects within the second stage. All this is also being done
Vladimir Putin: Fine.