Gagarin’s Start reconstruction to begin in 2020
BAIKONUR. KAZINFORM The decision on modernization of the Gagarin’s Start Launch Pad No. 1 at Baikonur Cosmodrome was adopted in 2019 after which the launching site was closed for conservation, Kazinform correspondent reports.
Three countries – Russia, Kazakhstan and UAE – are contributing $84mn in equal proportions to the modernization of the Gagarin’s Start. At the oncoming meeting in Moscow, the sides will discuss and settle financial and political issues, the press service of the Aerospace Committee of the Ministry of Digital Development, Innovations and Aerospace Industry informed.
According to Andrey Okhlopkov, Director General of the Center for operation of space ground-based infrastructure (TsENKI), Gagarin’s Start will be modernized for the launch of Soyuz-2M new rocket.
Soyuz-2M rocket is assembled on the ground of Soyuz-2.1b, but without the use of Fregat upper stage which significantly reduces its cost. As specialists say, the cost of the launch of Soyuz-2M will be around $30mn. The rocket will be able to bring 2-3 tonnes of payload into the sun-synchronous orbit.
The first launch from the Gagarin’s Start after the modernization is scheduled for 2023.