Construction blunders force Putin to delay first launch from Vostochny

Vostochny cosmodrome

President Vladimir Putin yesterday  officially pushed back  the date of Russia’s first space launch from the  $3bn Vostochny Cosmodrome by four months until April 2016. The flagship spaceport is being built close to the Chinese border in Russia’s Far East but has been dogged  by faulty construction, repeated corruption scandals and industrial action. Earlier this month it was reported that a rocket assembly building had been built to the wrong dimensions and was too small to house Soyuz-2 rockets components. Last year, Putin ordered contractors to get  the facility ready by December, and has now told them that work must be completed by Cosmonauts Day on April 12.
The new facility will eventually  replace the Soviet-built Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan – which Russia leases for around $115m per year – as the country’s primary space launch facility.