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3. Russia shows new space center to NHK

An NHK news crew has been allowed to visit Russia's new space center that is under construction in the far eastern Amur region.

NHK was the first foreign media to tour the Vostochny Cosmodrome space center.

President Vladimir Putin's government is spending about 6.5 billion dollars to build it as the new center for space exploration and development. It will replace the Baikonur launch site in Kazakhstan that has been used since the Soviet days.

Russia's space agency invited the NHK crew to see the progress of construction of the Soyuz spacecraft launch facility and rocket assembly plant. The framework of the 32-meter-high launch pad is close to completion.
Construction of housing quarters for researchers and workers is underway inside a 100,000 hectare compound.

A senior space agency official assured NHK that the launch facility of Soyuz will be completed by the end of the year as scheduled. He said construction is progressing smoothly and praised the program as a big step for Russian space development.

Russia plans to launch a manned spacecraft and a rocket with military satellites from the new center.

The country is trying to boost its presence in space and wants to also jumpstart development in the far eastern region that Putin has been promoting.
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