July 29, 2008

Russian TV Reports Progress at Cosmodrome Construction Site

Excerpt from report by corporate-owned Russian Ren TV on 29 July

[Presenter] This is the technology of the 21st century for independent access to space. The well-known and much-delayed construction project is nearing completion. How much does the space technology of the future cost? Correspondent Alevtina Polyakova searched for answers inside the space cellar.

[Correspondent] This is the sacred part of the cosmodrome's construction site - the Angara launch facility. It will take a future rocket nine minutes to travel from this point into space. Underneath us is a facility which goes 27 metres deep into the ground and whose construction has so far taken 16 years. Should the duration of the difficult project be measured in light years?

[A man] Let's descend.

[Correspondent] What is the depth?

[The man] You'll be able to make a rough estimate.

[Correspondent] The truth is that a journey into space begins underground. It feels cold and humid. However, lights and fire- extinguishing systems have been in operation without fail. We are moving through the maze section by section, as if we were inside a submarine. Even builders find it difficult to open the heavy doors separating the sections. Such corridors in the underground town take almost 4.5 kilometres. More than 1,000 kilometres of pipelines have been installed for the operation of the Angara facility. This is a truly cosmic dimension.

This man still remembers how it all began. The chief of the Plesetsk construction site, head of the USS-35 federal state enterprise under Russia's special construction agency Oleg Pivovarov, recalls how the first stone was laid. [passage omitted]

The first launch of the Angara rocket ought to have taken place five years ago. [passage omitted]

The unique feature of the Angara is that a whole family of carriers is based on it. Russia will thus ensure an independent space outlet all for itself. It will become possible to launch any types of satellites from Russian territory. This is the most sensitive issue of national security for the Space Troops leaving the Baykonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The facility costs R9.5bn. This is just the cost of the construction.

The first test launch will take place in three years' time. In the run-up to this, it will become necessary to literally resuscitate dozens of enterprises across the country. And this is something which will require an even greater effort. [passage omitted]

Originally published by Ren TV, Moscow, in Russian 0830 29 Jul 08.

(c) 2008 BBC Monitoring Former Soviet Union. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.