Российская наука и мир (дайджест) - Апрель 2016 г.
Дайджест за другие годы
2016 г.
Российская наука и мир
(по материалам зарубежной электронной прессы)

январь февраль март апрель май июнь июль август сентябрь октябрь ноябрь декабрь
    Впервые со времен СССР российская космическая наука может с уверенностью смотреть в будущее, но ее ренессанс сильно тормозят бюджетные проблемы.

MOSCOW - When Russia's Mars-96 exploration mission broke apart after launch in November 1996, the loss cast a pall over Russian space science. "We were barely functioning. There was this feeling of uselessness in the air," says Lev Zelenyi, director of the Institute of Space Research (IKI) here. Now, Russia is hoping to dispel that pall with its biggest slate of lunar and planetary missions since the early 1970s. But budget cuts are threatening to drag the nation's space science revival back to Earth.
In January, the Russian government approved a 10-year plan crafted by Russia's space agency, RosCosmos, covering everything from contributions to the International Space Station to weather and navigation satellites and human space exploration. About 15% of the spending would go to "basic physics in space," says Zelenyi, a plasma physicist. But the plan is considerably leaner than expected. With the government's coffers squeezed by low oil prices, RosCosmos has had to slash its budget for the 10-year plan to 1.4 trillion rubles ($20.5 billion), down from the 3.4 trillion rubles the agency asked for a year ago.
Nonscience parts of the space program have borne the brunt of the cuts, but a bevy of science missions are also at risk, including the resurrection of Russia's lunar program. Russia hasn't been back to the moon since the space race with the United States a half-century ago. The Soviets scored early with the Luna-1 mission - the first unmanned probe to orbit the moon, in 1958 - and Luna-2, which became the first spacecraft to land on the moon in 1959. "It was a really great time for our scientists, when we were competing with America," Zelenyi says. But after U.S. astronauts won the race to the moon, the wildly expensive U.S. and Soviet programs both hit stiff headwinds. The last Soviet mission from that period was Luna-24 in 1976.
Russia's renewed interest in the moon came after a Russian instrument hitched a ride in 2009 with NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. The instrument, a neutron detector, spotted pockets of subsurface water ice. Russia's leadership had rekindled dreams of putting cosmonauts on the moon - and here was a potential source of water. IKI now has five lunar missions planned from 2018 to 2025, starting with Luna-25, a spacecraft that would land near the moon's south pole. The European Space Agency (ESA) will take part in the first three missions. A highlight is a drill it's designing for Luna-27, which would penetrate a meter into the regolith - the surface layer of dust and rock debris - to take samples. "We don't know if the regolith is soft or hard. If it's saturated with ice, it could be like drilling into concrete," says James Carpenter, ESA's lead scientist on Luna in Noordwijk, the Netherlands.
Some researchers are unimpressed with that science plan. "All that was done before - in the 1970s," scoffs one Russian scientist. Carpenter disagrees. "The moon is not old hat," he says. All lunar samples have come from a region that's "not representative of the whole. If you want to understand all the science that has come before, you have to go to new places and take samples."
Humans won't follow for a while. Russia's budget woes will slow the human exploration program beyond the first mission's stated target of 2025, Zelenyi says. But he denies rumors that Luna-25 will be delayed.
Two other cornerstones of the Russian space revival are Mars and astrophysics. Phobos-Grunt, Russia's next attempt to reach the Red Planet after Mars-96, brought back bad memories when it broke up after launch in 2011. Like Mars-96, it ended in a fiery crash in the Pacific Ocean - the subject of "jokes mixed with tears," Zelenyi says. But Russia is teaming up with Europe on ExoMars, a twospacecraft mission. The first probe, designed to sniff for methane, was launched last month and is now en route to Mars, salving some of the sting of the earlier failures. And IKI and NASA are in early discussions on a possible joint mission to Venus after 2025.
Funds permitting, Russian astrophysics is poised for revival as well. On deck is SPEKTR-RG, a pair of x-ray telescopes that would map x-ray sources such as black holes and neutron stars. First conceived 25 years ago, the long-delayed project, now a joint effort with Germany, was revised twice. It's become even more important to astronomers worldwide after last week's possible loss of Japan's x-ray telescope. "We found a niche, and there will be new physics," Zelenyi promises. Launch is slated for September 2017, but that may slip, he says.
After that will come Gamma-400, "one of most ambitious projects in the world in next 10 years," declares Nikolai Kolachevsky, director of the P.N. Lebedev Physical Institute (LPI) here. LPI is taking the lead on the gamma-ray telescope, slated for launch in 2022. Gamma-400 aims to probe the nature of dark matter and the origins of extragalactic cosmic rays, and will search for high-energy gamma-ray bursts. Along with technical hurdles and budget worries, the mission faces the impact of international sanctions imposed on Russia for annexing Crimea. Components that also have military uses, such as equipment for protecting the spacecraft from radiation, now are difficult to procure, Kolachevsky says.
Budget realities may yet force some missions onto the back burner. But for the first time since the Soviet breakup, Zelenyi says, Russian space scientists can look ahead with confidence. "Even though scientists want to have much more than the country can afford," he says, "the next decade will be quite busy for us."

© 2016 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All rights Reserved.
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    На заседании Совета при Президенте по науке и образованию 21 января этого года зашла речь о наиболее достойных финансирования учреждениях, которые и будут получать все выделенные на науку деньги. Таковых учреждений насчитали 150, то есть примерно 10% от общего числа. Остальные 90% предлагается переформировать или просто закрыть. В ответ возразили, что количество цитирований - это еще не все, к тому же выдавать научные результаты мирового уровня, не имея даже современного оборудования, вообще проблематично.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signaled that a day of reckoning has arrived for Russian science. Presiding over a meeting of the Presidential Council for Science and Education in the Kremlin on 21 January, Putin noted that 150 institutes in Russia account for a vast majority of the nation's scientific output. In the coming months, scores of weaker institutes are expected to be axed or merged. Russia's science leaders say that scientists who lose their jobs - the number will be in the thousands, sources say - will not simply be tossed out on the street. Some would go into early retirement, whereas others may receive severance pay or retraining. At the same time, the government is showering riches on a few research centers with sterling track records or more political clout.
Полный текст статьи доступен по подписке.

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    История международного сотрудничества в космической сфере, его современное состояние и планы Роскосмоса по организации исследовательских полетов на ближайшие планеты.

If asked about humanity's greatest achievements in the 20th century, one would certainly mention the beginning of the space age. Its major benefit for all of mankind is not the immediate economic and technological advancements, but the more subtle shifts in our cultures and international relations.
Since the dawn of the space age the first space powers started not only competing to achieve new heights in space exploration, but also collaborating with one another. Gradually, other states became involved in the process. France, for example, started a long and fruitful partnership with Russia, participating in many joint experiments and projects after Charles de Gaulle visited the Baikonur Cosmodrome in 1966.
Today, unfortunately, space is one of the few spheres of interest that unite us. Despite our political differences, we continue to work together on the International Space Station, and our next step will most likely be to travel not to the low-Earth orbit, but to the moon. We at the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences also see many other possibilities for cooperation in the exploration of space. It is not merely a matter of funds that makes collaborative projects so important for space science, but new opportunities.
The first artificial satellites were launched during the International Geophysical Year of 1957-58, when extensive programs of observations and experiments took place throughout the world. The next large-scale international space program started when Halley's Comet returned to the sun's vicinity in 1986. American, Soviet, Japanese and European spaceships were sent to rendezvous with the comet. During the fly-bys of the Soviet Vega spacecraft, we would calculate the location of the comet's nucleus with precision, and this data was immediately sent to our European colleagues. This was a new type of space experiment, achieved in a joint venture.
What comes next? On March 14, we witnessed the start of ExoMars-2016 mission from Baikonur. ExoMars is a joint European and Russian project that is aimed at learning whether Mars was ever inhabited and what kind of climate it had. The project was initially developed by European and American space agencies. but American colleagues left it. At the same time, Russia had suffered the failure of the Phobos Sample Return mission, which was the only national planetary project in many years. The European Space Agency (ESA) made a proposal to Roscosmos to turn ExoMars into a joint project. Vladimir Popovkin, then head of Roscosmos, passionately supported the idea.
We tried to implement the idea as a truly joint endeavor. This meant that Russia not only contributed by providing rockets and scientific instruments, but took an active part in developing a joint data system. We hope that ExoMars will become the first step in future collaborations in the area of planetary exploration.
Our next target might be the moon or, more precisely, its polar regions. The moon's regolith contains frozen water deposits that were implanted by solar wind or left by comets. These deposits can reveal the early history of our solar system. The "fossils" there can also be mined for the sake of increasing the knowledge of the universe.
The current Federal Space Program of Russia envisages a sequence of missions to the moon. The first three missions include sending two landers and one orbiter that will study the surface and exosphere of the moon and test soft-landing techniques. Roscosmos and ESA are currently discussing possible forms of cooperation in this program, and we hope that the decision to conduct joint programs will be approved by ESA's ministerial council by the end of the year.
We also have a successful history in collaborating with the United States, and we are very happy that American spacecraft are using Russian instruments. However, up until now, only the International Space Station is considered to be a joint project between the two nations. Still, our communities are very interested in working together. One possible joint endeavor could involve Venus. Considered to be a "forgotten" planet, it still presents enormous interests to scientists.
In order to outline possible joint missions, the Venus Joint Science Definition Team, which includes representatives of Russian and American scientific institutions, was established. Its first and second meetings were held at the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences in 2015 and 2016. They were based on two concepts of the Venus mission that were developed independently in Russia and the United States. Unfortunately, these projects were not adopted, and now we are looking for ways to harmonize our goals and for best methods to achieve them.
Mars, the moon and Venus are our nearest neighbors. Each one of them was extensively explored during the first years of the space age. So why should we go back? The answer is simple. These celestial bodies (except for Venus) can, in principle, be used by human beings. This does not necessarily mean that they will be inhabited. But it is reasonable to build a scientific station on the moon with scientists and engineers. The moon provides unique conditions for radioastronomers, and X-rays and cosmic ray specialists. Even though the journey to Mars is dangerous, human curiosity and courage are great enough to risk it once. Stable collaboration between nations based on mutual understanding is vital to the success of this mission.

  • Lev Zelenyi is director of the Institute of Space Research of the Russian Academy of Sciences, where Olga Zakutnyia is a senior specialist.
© Copyright 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.
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    Архивная статья, опубликованная в журнале U.S. News & World Report 24 апреля 1961 г. и посвященная первому полету человека в космос.

This article originally appeared in the April 24, 1961, edition of U.S. News & World Report.
The Soviet Union on April 12 scored one more "first" over the U.S.
On that day, man for the first time circled the earth in space. The spaceship was Russian.
The Soviet "cosmonaut" went around the world in 89.1 minutes. He and his ship traveled at a height of 110 miles to 188 miles. His speed, on most of the journey, was about 285 miles a minute - more than 17,000 miles per hour.
This triumph of Russian science and engineering was described by Sir Bernard Lovell, director of Britain's Jodrell Bank observatory, as "one of the greatest scientific achievements" in history.
Weight of the space vehicle on launching was five tons. The capsule, with passenger and equipment, when separated from the space vehicle weighed only a fraction of that.
On landing, the first of the world's spacemen said that he had enjoyed the ride. He suffered no ill effects. Such were the details of the Soviet account. The meaning? Soviet Russia had achieved a victory equal to or greater than that of the first Sputnik. This victory, most authorities agreed, was both technological and psychological. The U.S., which might have been ahead, once more ended up behind.
Best judgment is that the Soviet Union is two to three years, or more, ahead of the U.S. in space vehicles of similar size and importance. It seems agreed, too, that by the time the U. S. has a space vehicle to match that of today's Soviet vehicle, the Russians could be far along the way to new objectives.
A space platform from which to launch manned expeditions to the moon is expected to be an early Soviet project. Military objectives will be sought through manned projects in space. Nikita Khrushchev, given a new victory, will be expected to exploit that victory both at home and abroad. As the No. 1 power in manned space flight, the U.S.S.R. is credited with taking on a new stature. As the loser in another race, the U.S. is found to be reduced somewhat in stature.
The American astronaut plan calls for shooting a man over the Atlantic from Cape Canaveral, Fla. The shot will be by rocket power, over a distance of 290 miles and up to a height of 115 miles.
A first try to place an American into orbit around the earth itself is described as many months away.
More danger in the world as a result of the Soviet victory? Only to the extent, officials say, that Khrushchev is made more bold and venturesome.
In terms of missile and air power, U.S. strength remains more than adequate to destroy any potential enemy.

Copyright 2016 © U.S. News & World Report L.P.
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    EurekAlert / 13-Apr-2016
    Mysterious "four-dimensional" iron oxide explained
    Scientists have explained the unusual "four-dimensional" features of iron oxide.
    Физики из России, Германии, Эстонии, Бельгии и Китая описали сложную структуру недавно открытого оксида железа Fe4O5 и предложили объяснение его очень необычных свойств.

An international group of researchers including Russian scientists from the Moscow State University has been studying the behaviour of the recently-discovered Fe4O5, iron oxide. The group has succeeded in describing its complex structure, and proposed an explanation for its very unusual properties. The article appeared in the current issue of the journal Nature Chemistry.
The scientists discovered that when Fe4O5 iron oxide is cooled to temperatures below 150K, it goes through an unusual phase transition related to a formation of charge-density waves - which lead to a "four-dimensional" crystal structure. Artem Abakumov (Senior Researcher at the Chemistry Faculty of the Department of Electrochemistry at the Lomonosov Moscow State University and one of the paper's authors) said that the further study of this material would be rewarding from the viewpoint of a fundamental understanding of the interconnection between magnetic and crystal structures.
The origins of this research date back to 1939, when the German physicist E.J.W. Verwey first discovered that the iron oxide Fe3O4 - commonly known as the mineral magnetite - had a strange phase transition. Magnetite in its normal state is a relatively good electrical conductor, but when cooled below 120K its conductivity markedly decreased, and the material practically became an insulator. Scientists guessed the reason for this transformation explaining that below 120K, the iron atoms arrange themselves into a kind of ordered structure. In this structure the electrons are denied to move freely within the material and act as charge carriers, so that this oxides even becomes a ferroelectric. Even so, the scientists could not explain what exactly changes in the structure - something which physicists have spent the last century attempting to discover. All that could be suggested was the phenomenon was related to the presence of iron atoms in two different oxidation states (valences) - 2 and 3 - and their consequent ability to form ordered structures.
The answer to this question was found only recently, in 2012 - when a group of researchers led by Prof. Paul Attfield of Cambridge University managed to synthesise high-quality magnetite single crystals and decipher their structure. Scientists showed that - just as had been suggested earlier - a so-called change in the ordering had occurred, in which two- and three-valent iron atoms arranged themselves into groups of three, which were called trimerons.
The authors of the article which has been published in Nature Chemistry decided to look at different iron oxide, Fe4O5, which has only recently been discovered by an American research team. It's an unusual oxide that can only be formed at extremely high temperatures and pressure - meaning that it is not to be found on the Earth's surface, and exists alongside other oxides containing even greater levels of oxygen, as is now believed, at tremendous depths of hundreds of kilometres below our planet's surface.
When examining the behaviour of this oxide - which was obtained by Sergey Ovsyannikov in the group of Dr Leonid Dubrovinsky of the University of Bayreuth in Germany, who is a specialist in the synthesis of materials at high pressure - scientists discovered that this oxide has a phase transition phase very similar to that noted by Verwey in magnetite. It differs, however, in occurring at different temperatures, and the configuration of the structure obtained is much more complex.
"We have found that here, just as in magnetite, when cooling to lower than 150K occurs, an unusual structure evolves. It's something of a mixture between standard charge density waves forming dimers" (chains of iron atom pairs which have foreshortened interatomic distance - Ed) Artem Abakumov commented, "and the situation with the trimerons that was observed in magnetite. This was very complicated in the case of Fe4O5 - what's known as a 'incommensurately modulated structure", in which we can't identify three-dimensional periodicity. However, the periodicity can be observed in a higher-dimensional space - in this specific case, in the four-dimensional space. When we mention the four-dimensionality of such structures, we are not actually talking about the existence of these oxides in four dimensions, of course. This is just a technical construct for the mathematical description of such highly complex ordering."
Despite clear similarities between the behaviours of magnetite and Fe4O5, the charge-ordered structure of Fe4O5 remains centro-symmetric, without exhibiting any ferroelectric properties. The special interest which scientists have in Fe3O4 results from the fact that magnetite belongs to a class of materials known as multiferroics - in which two kinds of ordering are seen at the same time, magnetic and electric. If these two different orders become coupled with each other, then the effect of the magnetic field on the material can alter its electric polarization - or conversely, magnetisation changes being affected by electric field.
"If this happens," says Artem Abakumov, "then we get a bifunctional material. That's of interest not only from the fundamental physics viewpoint or solid-state chemistry - but also in terms of how it could be put into practical use. It could be used in sensors - for example, in magnetic field sensors. The only drawback is that normally a coupling of a magnetic and electrical order is pretty weak, and only appears at low temperatures. Comparative analysis of the crystalline, electronic and magnetic structure of Fe4O5 and magnetite will give us a better shot at studying the relationship of the magnetic and electrical order in these kinds of materials".

Copyright © 2016 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
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    Кислотность вод Мирового океана за последнее сто лет значительно возросла. Опасно это прежде всего тем, что подкисленная вода растворяет кальций, который содержится в скелетах, раковинах и панцирях морских организмов.
    Группа исследователей из России, США и Швеции выяснили, что механизм закисления воды на Восточно-Сибирском шельфе в Северном Ледовитом океане отличается от того, который действует в других районах Мирового океана. Происходит это так: в результате таяния вечной мерзлоты древнее органическое вещество попадает в океан в форме двуокиси углерода, которая при растворении в морской воде образует слабую кислоту.
    Статья "Acidification of East Siberian Arctic Shelf waters through addition of freshwater and terrestrial carbon" опубликована в журнале Nature Geoscience.

When organic material from thawing permafrost is transported to the sea and breaks down in the seawater it contributes to a more rapid acidification of the Arctic Ocean, finds new research by scientists from Stockholm University and colleagues.
Ocean acidification is an important consequence of humankind's release of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere from fossil fuel burning. It is widely thought that when excess atmospheric CO2 reacts with seawater it forms carbonic acid, which, in turn, "acidifies" the ocean, causing dramatic changes to ocean ecosystems. The Arctic Ocean is particularly sensitive to such changes. Now, a new study by scientists from Sweden, the USA, and Russia, published in Nature Geoscience proposes a novel mechanism for Arctic Ocean acidification involving release and subsequent breakdown of organic matter from thawing permafrost and carbon-rich river runoff in seawater.
"It is predicted that accumulation of atmospheric CO2 in ocean surface waters will make the ocean twice as acidic by the end of this century. The Arctic Ocean is more sensitive to ocean acidification because more CO2 can dissolve in cold water. Our measurements show much higher levels of acidification of the Arctic Ocean than those previously reported by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) among others," says Örjan Gustafsson, Professor at Department of Environmental Science and Analytical Chemistry, Stockholm University.
Study based on decade-long observations
The new study culminated from decade-long observations in the remote East Siberian Arctic Shelf, which is comprised of the Laptev Sea, the East Siberian Sea and the Russian part of the Chukchi Sea. It is the largest shelf sea system of the World Ocean and one that the authors call "a particularly vulnerable target area."
"The East Siberian Arctic Shelf is an extremely climate-sensitive system that makes up approximately a quarter of the Arctic continental shelf. It receives river discharges from four large rivers, which transport terrestrial organic carbon as a result of permafrost thawing. In addition, the Shelf includes riverbanks, deltas and coastlines with thousand of kilometres of ice complexes. This system is strongly affected by global warming which has caused the steep coastline to erode by several metres per year, releasing old material from the permafrost into the seawater," says Örjan Gustafsson.
The team tracked the progress of acidification in the East Siberian Arctic Shelf by estimating the saturation state of aragonite, a soluble crystalline form of calcium carbonate, in water samples collected during research expeditions from 1999 to 2011. Aragonite is crucial for marine organisms to form their skeletons or shells. With fewer carbonate ions, the seawater becomes "under-saturated" with respect to aragonite. To pinpoint whether the source of CO2 is from the atmosphere or the land, the researchers calculated the isotopic signatures of carbon and oxygen in the water samples.
High seawater acidity levels
"Our results show that carbon release from thawing coastal permafrost and growing river discharge cause persistent, and potentially increasing aragonite under-saturation of seawater in the East Siberian Arctic Shelf," says Örjan Gustafsson.
According to the authors, the "extreme" aragonite under-saturation in the East Siberian Arctic Shelf reflects seawater acidity levels much higher than those projected in this region for the end of this century, as these are currently based only on atmospheric CO2.
"This indirect trigger of massive ocean acidification in the East Siberian Arctic Shelf illustrates the complexity of the Earth system under increasing anthropogenic pressure," says Örjan Gustafsson.

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    The Verge / April 28, 2016
    Russia launches the first rocket from its brand-new spaceport
    And almost no one saw it live.
    • By Sean O'Kane
    28 апреля со второй попытки состоялся первый запуск с нового космодрома Восточный в Приамурье. Ракета-носитель "Союз-2.1а" с тремя научными спутниками стартовала в 5:01 мск.
    Однако в ближайшем будущем Роскосмос планирует запускать с Восточного только по одной ракете в год, продолжая использование Байконура, аренда которого продлена до 2050 года.

Russian space agency Roscosmos has launched the first rocket from Vostochny Cosmodrome, the country's newest spaceport. Last night at 10:01PM ET, a Soyuz-2.1a rocket blasted off, taking with it three satellites that will monitor the Earth and measure cosmic rays. And almost no one saw it happen live.
Anatoly Zak, who has written about Russia's space program for years, reports for Popular Mechanics that Roscosmos (which is a corporation run by the Russian government) didn't allow any foreign press to view the launch from Vostochny. And since it's a new spaceport, neither NASA nor the European Space Agency have any of the infrastructure in place that typically facilitates the live streams we've become so accustomed to.
In fact, just one local TV channel was allowed to broadcast, but they were forced to set up miles away from the launch site. While they were able to live stream footage of the rocket once it was in the air, they weren't able to see it take off. In the end, the station captured little more than a blur in the sky, and the only other option to watch live online was a Periscope stream. It wasn't until the rocket was well on its way to orbit before the space agency published any footage.
The massive new spaceport required thousands of workers and billions of dollars to build. It has multiple launch pads, a train station, a mission control center, and an assembly and processing complex (where the Soyuz-2.1a rocket was built). But Roscosmos' trepidation over showing the launch was likely rooted in the new spaceport's checkered past.
Until recently, Russia launched the bulk of its rockets from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, which is located in what used to be the southwestern reaches of the Soviet Union. It was the first spaceport ever built, and was the origin point of some of the most famous space missions in history; both Sputnik and Yuri Gagarin blasted off from Baikonur.
But when the Soviet Union collapsed, the million square miles around Baikonur became the independent Republic of Kazakhstan. In order to keep its space program alive, Russia agreed to lease the Baikonur Cosmodrome from Kazakhstan for $115 million per year.
As Vladimir Putin rose to power, though, he stressed the importance of an independent space effort. Russia isn't limited to Baikonur - it built the Plesetsk spaceport in the 1950s, which is in the northwestern region of the country, and it has launch access at the Guiana Space Centre in French Guiana - but a new spaceport would "guarantee Russia full independence of space activities," Putin said in 2010. "It is important that the cosmodrome effectively ensures the operation of all future space projects."
Construction began in 2011 in the southeastern corner of Russia, but the project hit a number of outrageous snags along the way. Again from Zak at Popular Mechanics:

Putin declared Vostochny his pet project, much as he did for the Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014. No expense would be spared. The Kremlin demanded to fire the first rocket from the site in 2015 no matter what. Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who took over the supervision of the beleaguered project in 2012, even promised to sacrifice a tooth if the launch pad would not be ready in time.
It wasn't. Despite all the declarations, and Rogozin's countless trips across six time zones to visit the remote site and try to accelerate construction, Vostochny was marred by corruption, mismanagement, and delays. One construction manager was caught driving a diamond-encrusted Mercedes, while many other top officials were accused of stealing federal funds to buy houses, yachts, and other luxury goods. In the meantime, up to 5,900 employees - the majority of the center's workforce - went for months without pay.

Despite the mess, Russia was finally ready to get a rocket to launch off the pad this week, though not without more troubles. A glitch was found in the rocket moments before the first attempt to launch it on Tuesday night, so Roscosmos decided to delay the launch for 24 hours. Putin himself had flown to Vostochny to oversee the launch and was reportedly very unhappy with the delay, issuing a vague warning on state television. "The fact is there is a large number of hitches," he said. "That is bad. There should be an appropriate reaction."
It's not likely that Vostochny will change much in the short term. Even though the new spaceport has now been christened with a launch, Roscosmos only plans to launch about one rocket per year from there for the foreseeable future, and the agency's lease on the Baikonur Cosmodrome lasts until 2050.

© 2016 Vox Media, Inc. All rights reserved.
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