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Ten years ago today a presidential decree established the state test cosmodrome Plesetsk based on the main centre for testing and using space equipment
Ten years ago today a presidential decree established the state test cosmodrome Plesetsk based on the main centre for testing and using space equipment (in the south of the Arkhangelsk region of Northern European Russia). Since then the cosmodrome has launched 84 carrier rockets and orbited 132 spacecraft. It also launched 31 intercontinental ballistic missiles. The press-service of the Space Forces added that the cosmodrome dates its history from March 17, 1966, when the first launcher successfully lifted off an artificial Earth satellite - Cosmos-112. Since its foundation the launchers of the planet's northernmost cosmodrome have made 1,539 launchings of carrier rockets of the Vostok, Voskhod, Molniya, Soyuz, Cosmos-3M, Tsiklon-3 and Rokot types, and put 1,961 spacecraft in orbit. "As we moved we had both triumphs and tragedies - during tests of missile and space equipment the accidents of 1973 and 1980 claimed 57 human lives," the spokesman for the press-service added. "The Plesetsk cosmodrome is today a regular space haven of the country, possessing all the required infrastructure and capable of accomplishing tasks with spacecraft of every type," Lieutenant-General Vladimir Popovkin, Commander of the Space Forces, emphasised during his recent visit to the cosmodrome. He said that the cosmodrome's history is a history of improvement of the country's carrier rockets and spacecraft. Lieutenant-General Anatoly Bashlakov, chief of the cosmodrome, said in his address to the personnel that "being one of the world's biggest cosmodromes, Plesetsk has become the main launching venue for most spacecraft and a testing facility for rocketry. It is here that we plan to develop and perfect the promising Angara missile and space system of a new generation built on the basis of present-day Russian techniques and designed to carry the orbiting grouping over the next decade," he said. The high professional level of the cosmodrome's test personnel was confirmed on November 8, 2004 when they launched a new Russian rocket, Soyuz-2. In summing up the launch, Lieutenant-General Vladimir Popovkin, Commander of the Space Forces, remarked that "the unique nature of the Soyuz-2 carrier rocket lies in the fact that its developers made use of exclusively Russian production facilities. Apart from technical modernisation of obsolete carriers, the project to blast off the Soyuz-2 from the Plesetsk cosmodrome is also aimed at ensuring the state's defence and security and guarantee Russia's access to outer space.
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