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    Russian Spaceport Visited by North Korea’s Kim Has a History of Corruption and Construction Delays

    Russian Spaceport Visited by North Korea's Kim Has a History of Corruption and Construction Delays

    — The space launch facility where Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Wednesday reflects an ambitious attempt by Moscow to burnish its scientific glory that faded after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

    The Vostochny Cosmodrome has a troubled history tarnished by construction delays and widespread corruption.

    Here is a glance at the spaceport's creation and capability:

    Post-Soviet creation

    After the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union, leased the Baikonur Cosmodrome from Kazakhstan and continued to use it for most of its space launches. The agreement with Kazakhstan allows Russia to keep leasing Baikonur for $115 million a year through 2050.

    The relatively small Plesetsk launch pad in northwestern Russia has been used for some satellite launches and military missile tests.

    Amid occasional disputes with Kazakhstan over Baikonur's use, Russian authorities declared that the country needs a full-fledged space facility of its own while emphasizing that it will continue to use Baikonur.

    In 2007, Putin signed a decree ordering the creation of Vostochny, which means Eastern in Russian, on the site of a Soviet-built missile base but actual construction works only began five years later.

    Difficult construction

    Vostochny's location in an unexplored and sparsely populated area in Russia's far east has added to the cost and length of construction works.


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