Missile Launching Can be Observed by Ordinary Citizens - 3 April, 2003

Yesterday at 5:53 a.m. Moscow time, Molnia-M communication satellite was launched from the Plesetsk space center. This was the first satellite launched this year, but the 222nd one over the whole history of the cosmodrome.  The Molnia-M was started in the interests of the RF Defense Ministry. Commander of the RF Armed Forces Space Troops, colonel-general Anatoly Perminov was in charge of the launching.

However, yesterday's launching was particular. For the first time over the 45 years of the space center's activity civilians from the Mezensky and Leshukovsky districts were allowed to the cosmodrome to observe the start. Those were people from territories bordering Plesetsk that are polluted with separating missile stages and propellant. PRAVDA.Ru already reported about problems citizens of the districts face after launching of missiles from Plesetsk.

The press-service of the Arkhangelsk region reports, the initiative to allow representatives of the territories to watch launching of the missile was suggested by Governor Anatoly Yefremov at a meeting with citizens of the Mezensky district in January this year. The head of the regional administration emphasized that visits of this kind must be regular. This is probably a nice method to solve psychological problems of the population which often arise in connection with the closeness of the space center to their districts. But unfortunately this won't solve ecological problems of these territories.

Vitaly Bratkov

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Author`s name Michael Simpson