Drone Films Russia’s New Cosmodrome

A new space for space

Vostochny Cosmodrome

Vostochny Cosmodrome

Screenshot by author, from YouTube

When the Soviet Union broke apart, one thing the Russian space program lost was, well, space. Specifically, with the independence of Kazakhstan, Russia lost its Baikonur Cosmodrome. Through leasing agreements and generally friendly relations, Russia’s been able to keep launching rockets from their old base, but the nation has long dreamed of a space launch facility in its own territory. After years of work, it finally has one in the works at Vostochny Cosmodrome.

As captured by drone, the facility looks as much office space as space office. The facility is located on the southern edge of the Amur Oblast in the Russia's far east, not too far from the border with China. It will ultimately be the heart of a city of around 30,000 people, and will launch new rockets and new capsules, not the Soyuz capsules that are launched at Baikonur. Instead, writes Air & Space:

Russian engineers began working on a next-generation spacecraft, called PTK NP, that could make high-precision, rocket-powered landings into pre-determined spots along the flight path. However, the new capsule is too heavy to be carried by the Soyuz launcher, so a new rocket, Angara, is being modified for the job. The launch pad for Angara won’t be built at Vostochny until 2018, during the cosmodrome’s second phase of construction. If everything goes according to a very optimistic (or, according to some, highly unrealistic) schedule, Angara would lift off from the new cosmodrome for the first time in 2018.

Last week, Russian-owned media company RT provided a glimpse at the facility to the world, as filmed by drone. Watch below: