Putin visits site of Russia's new launch center
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin says Russia will be launching its manned space missions from a new launching pad in the Far East in 2018.
Putin visited the town of Vostochny, the site of the new launch facility, as part of his weeklong tour of Russia's Far East.
Putin said on state-run Rossiya channel that the new center, located some 3,600 miles (5800 kilometers) east of Moscow, will host all launches of Russian-manned spacecraft beginning in 2018.
Russia currently uses the Soviet-built Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan for all of its manned space missions and other commercial launches as well as another center in northern Russia for military satellite launches.
Putin stressed the "strategic" need for Russia to have its own modern launch facility.