Gagarin launch pad to be upgraded at Baikonur
© RIA Novosti / Sergey Mamontov
The Gagarin launch pad at the Baikonur cosmodrome, from which only one old-generation Soyuz-FG rocket remains to be launched, will be modernized to launch new Soyuz-2 rockets by 2023, the Ria.ru was told in the aerospace committee of the Ministry of Aerospace Industry of Kazakhstan (Kazkosmos).
Now, at Baikonur, for launching of Soyuz carriers under the manned program, two launch complexes are used – launch pads 1 (Gagarinsky launch) and 31. Only Soyuz-FG with the Ukrainian control system can be launched from the first site.
There is only one such rocket left; its launch with the Soyuz MS-15 manned spacecraft is scheduled for September 25. Soyuz-2 rockets with the Russian control system are launched from the 31st pad. Since 2020, all manned launches will be transferred to this rocket.
Earlier, the head of Roskosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, called it a big risk to have only one pad for manned launches at Baikonur and suggested moving part of the cargo ship launches to Vostochny during the modernization of the launch pad at Baikonur. Prior to this, the Gagarinsky launch was proposed to simply be preserved.
“According to preliminary plans, modernization (of the Gagarin launch) will begin in 2020 and last until 2023,” the organization said.
Kazkosmos says that the total cost of upgrades will be $ 87 million. The funds will be equally contributed by Russia, Kazakhstan and the UAE - $29 million each. The decision is to be sealed by November.
Attracting UAE investments in other projects is not planned, the agency said.
In 2004-2005, the 31st Baikonur launch pad was modernized for Soyuz-2 craft.