President Vladimir Putin watches the first rocket launch from Russia's new Vostochny cosmodrome in the country's Far East, after criticizing space officials for a failed attempt the day before. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Russia launched its inaugural rocket from a new cosmodrome on Thursday (April 28), a day after a technical glitch thwarted the much-publicized event in a sign of continued crisis in the nation's space industry. An unmanned Soyuz-2.1A rocket carrying three satellites roared off into a clear blue sky from the launch pad at the Vostochny cosmodrome in the remote Amur Region near China's border at 0501 Moscow time (0201 GMT), state television showed. The satellites separated from the rocket's third stage about nine minutes into the flight, heading to their designated orbits, Russian news agencies quoted officials from the space agency Roscosmos as saying. The launch was called off less than two minutes before the lift-off on Wednesday, upsetting President Vladimir Putin. He had flown thousands of kilometers to watch what Russian media and officials touted as an historic event. "I would like to congratulate you again. You know how the work has been going, and it's not completed yet. We have much more to build to prepare for launches of heavy rockets. We can't exclude that we will build further infrastructure for super-heavy rockets, for manned mission launches. In general there is still a lot to do here. There is lot of potential and the job is important. This is really a big step in the development of the state space rocket industry," said Putin after the successful second launch attempt. His remarks contrasted his tough words after Wednesday's (April 27) aborted launch, when he criticized Roscosmos and government officials for a large number of technical hitches in the space industry, saying that "there should be an appropriate reaction". Delays and corruption have blighted work on the new cosmodrome. Problems with Russian space rockets are worrisome not just for the Kremlin but also for the United States space programme. NASA has depended on Russia to fly its astronauts to the International Space Station since it retired its space shuttle.