Lucky Russian Students Spend Winter in Balmy Vostochny

Vladimir Putin reviews a map showing the plan for the Vostochny spaceport. (Credit: Presidential Press and Information Office)
Vladimir Putin reviews a map showing the plan for the Vostochny spaceport. (Credit: Presidential Press and Information Office)

RussianSpaceWeb.com says 200 lucky students had a chance to spend their winter break in Russia’s frigid Far East, where they are taking a course in Screwed Up Construction Projects 101.

In an unusual step, the Russian government organized 200-strong “winter student brigade” to provide low-skilled labor in Vostochny beginning on February 1, even though normally such groups would only be available during summer. Official press releases did not elaborate whether members of the brigade would have to skip a semester. As many as 1,200 students were promised in Vostochny during the summer of 2015, Roskosmos said.

It’s all part of Russia’s effort to complete the new spaceport by fall so it can host its first launch by December. And how’s all that going?

According to the Kommersant daily quoting Roskosmos sources, on the eve of losing his post of Roskosmos head on January 21, Oleg Ostapenko delivered a devastating report on the status of Vostochny to the Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. The document reportedly said that some of the facilities at the center were severely behind schedule, for example, the fueling station for launch vehicles simply did not exist.

The report apparently did nothing to dissuade Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who recently visited the construction site to help get the project back on schedule.

Hey, good luck with that.