Vostochny Key To Moscow Missions To Moon, Mars
By Amy Svitak
Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology
September 30, 2013
Credit: Tsenki TV
The delayed September launch of a commercial Proton rocket is Russia's latest justification for ending reliance on the Baikonur Cosmodrome, the world's oldest and largest spaceport situated in the desert steppes of neighboring Kazakhstan.
Although Russia lofts many scientific and military spacecraft from Plesetsk Cosmodrome north of Moscow, commercial and government launches to geostationary orbit—the destination of most telecommunications satellites—can be conducted only from Baikonur, where more than half of Russia's campaigns and all manned missions to the International Space Station (ISS) are launched.