Oldest launch site at the Baikonur cosmodrome site No. 1, aka “Gagarin’s start” — decided to preserve it as unnecessary and expensive upgrades. With this platform, on 12 April 1961, was launched spacecraft “Vostok” with Yuri Gagarin on Board, who became the first man in space. Now, however, the commercial attractiveness of launches from Baikonur falls and the ground becomes a burden.
“Gagarin’s start” was actively used in the USSR. Now he launch a manned Soyuz and an unmanned cargo Progress spacecraft to the ISS. However, as write “news” to continue the operation of the site No. 1, perform its modernization under rocket “Soyuz-2”, and this is simply no extra money because it’s expensive, and not necessary. A similar upgrade was site No. 31, and it is enough, given current volumes of run.
“For the existing volume of work it will be quite a site. So there is no need in the modernization and maintenance of the second complex. Duplication of missile launchers is a Soviet tradition. This ensures the holding of the starts even if one of the units will get damage in the accident, — said the source “Izvestia”, familiar with the situation. — The launch complex pays for itself only if it is made at least six starts per year, for a payback of the ground infrastructure Baikonur require 12 launches “Unions” and 12 launches of “proton-M” within a year”.
In 2017, Russia has carried out eight launches of Soyuz rockets from Baikonur and four “Proton-M”. In 2018 while fly two of the “Union” and “proton-M”. The reason for the decreased frequency of starts consists partly in the fact that part of the “Unions” now takes off from the cosmodrome “East” and “Protons” have become commercially unattractive due to a succession of accidents in recent years.