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Putin hopes launches from Russia's new space center will be conducted in early 2016

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday he hopes the first launches from the Vostochny space center will be held in the first quarter of 2016, but warned that there is no need for excessive hurry.

"I hope the first launches will be conducted in the period that we denoted - the first quarter of 2016. But there is no need for excessive hurry. The most important thing is that all should be done with due quality," Putin said at his annual news conference.

He said Vostochny is "the largest project of national significance." "We are creating an entire city," he said. The Russian head of state recalled that there were schedule delays during the construction of the space center, but added that they have been reduced.

"Delays were up to 1.5 years. Now we've cut them down to 5-6 months," Putin said.

He said he had initiated the construction of the new space center himself some time ago. "I was choosing the place for the future space center on my own. At first, a place on the Pacific coast, near Vladivostok was offered. Construction nearly started there. But them the same experts said: 'No'."

"Americans, at Cape Canaveral, constantly delay either descent or launch over weather, as there are many problems near the ocean, so it's better to move to the continent," Putin said.

Construction of the Vostochny space center in Russia's Far East started in 2012. The overall area of Vostochny is some 700 square kilometers. It will become the first national civilian-designation space center and will make it possible to ensure full access of Russia to space and will reduce domestic space science's dependence on the Baikonur Space Center Russia leases from Kazakhstan.

The first launch from the new space center was scheduled for December 25, 2015. Later it became known that the launch is delayed until 2016.

[Source: Itar Tass, Moscow, 17Dec15]

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