A Soyuz rocket streaked into sunny skies over a new multibillion-dollar Siberian spaceport with Russian President Vladimir Putin watching from a nearby viewing stand, opening another gateway to space for satellites, and eventually cosmonaut crews. On April 28 at 02:01 UTC the “Soyuz-2.1a” rocket-carrier was launched from Vostochny Cosmodrome. The rocket equipped with the “Volga” upper stage orbited 3 satellites (“Lomonosov’; “Aist-2D”; “SamSat-218”).
Located in Russia’s Amur region near the Chinese border, Vostochny sits about 5,500 kilometers from Moscow, not far from an abandoned Soviet-era missile base called Svobodny, which itself hosted a handful of satellite launches. The civilian-operated Vostochny complex covers an area of 700 square kilometers — about the size of Singapore — and Roscosmos says it will cost 180 billion rubles, or $2.7 billion, when finished.