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News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

Putin orders building hastened at new Russian spaceport

•, By Vladimir Soldatkin
Putin flew in a helicopter over the sprawling building site in Vostochny at a time when conflict with Ukraine, maker of Zenit and Dnepr rockets, is highlighting the fragility of Russia's dependence on former Soviet republics in defense and space.

Building a new launchpad on its own soil is central to Putin's effort to reform a once-pioneering space industry hobbled by years of budget cuts and a brain drain in the 1990s.

"Our own space infrastructure and modern network of cosmodromes ... will allow Russia to strengthen its standing as a leading space superpower and guarantee the independence of space activities," Putin said at Vostochny, near Russia's border with China.

Taking to task officials, Putin said construction was lagging behind by up to three months and the 6,000 workers currently at the site was half the number it should be.

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