I can understand why Russia would want a spaceport on their own territory.

But when you look at where Vostochny is located, it looks like there are other, more southern, parts of Russia with their own benefits.

Most obviously, if they're building way out in Siberia, there's a lot of Russian territory right south of Vostochny, in the direction of Vladivostok. Surely there must be some advantages to putting it on the ocean, allowing parts and fully assembled rockets to be shipped there.

Or, instead, there's the bit of Russia that dips down toward Georgia, between the Black and Caspian seas. I'm sure it would be nice to be closer to European Russia, where a lot of the equipment is probably manufactured.

I know there are many more considerations than just latitude (some are listed in this answer). I'm wondering which ones led to their decision. Does the Vladivostok region have bad weather? Is the Black/Caspian sea region too unstable? I know Chechnya's there, but I don't know about the rest of the region.

  • $\begingroup$ For Russia, putting the base on the coast has no advantage for any of their current rocket designs. They were designed to be transported by rail. $\endgroup$
    – Hobbes
    Commented Jun 28, 2018 at 8:36

2 Answers 2


Some considerations were:

  • The launch site should be as far in the south as possible, being near the same latitude as Baikonur was deemed favorable. (You are right, there are places in Russia that are even further south but they suffer from disadvantages that outweigh the latitude advantage.)
  • Launch routes from Vostochny don't lead over territory of other states. Launching near Georgia would lead over Kazakhstan and could create political problems on launch failure (also when dropping first stages).
  • Vostochny (formerly Svobodny Cosmodrome) is a former strategic missile base. So some infrastructure was already in place, including housing for workers, railways and power lines.
  • Can be reached via major railway networks.
  • The area is sparsely populated, as well as the potential rocket launch routes, reducing the risk for people during launches. Stages can still be dumped into the ocean.
  • Vladivostok was also under consideration but was rejected. I don't remember why, but according to Wikipedia the proximity to the ocean seemed to create problems (instead of providing an advantage). Hopefully someone else can explain why.

(IIRC, the whole search for an alternative launch location is described in more detail in Anatoly Zak's great book "Russia in Space".)


I couldn't find any tecnical info, but in this russian-language article there is Putin's citation. Accordind to it yes, Vladivostok area was considered initially and yes, the weather was the main concern.

"Сначала предложили место на берегу Тихого океана, недалеко от Владивостока, на побережье. Чуть строить там не начали. Но потом эти же эксперты сказали: "Нет". У американцев на мысе Канаверал постоянно откладывают то посадку, то пуск в связи с погодой, так как возле океана много проблем, поэтому лучше на континент перебраться".


At first they proposed a place on the shore of the Pacific Ocean, not far from Vladivostok, on the coast. The building had almost began. But then the same experts said: "No". Americans on the Cape Canaveral constantly postpone landings and starts besause of weather as near ocean there are many problems, therefore it is better to move to the continent.


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