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Upset Putin To Stay At Cosmodrome For 2nd Try At Rocket Launch

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been sharply critical of Russian space officials for the delay of the maiden launch of a rocket from the new Vostochny Cosmodrome.

A visibly upset Putin declared shortly after the postponement of the April 27 launch in Russia's Far East that he would stay overnight to attend the expected second attempt at a launch the following day.

Putin told space industry officials at the cosmodrome -- to which he had traveled thousands of kilometers to attend the launch in the Amur region -- that "the fact is there are a large number of hitches. That is bad. There should be an appropriate reaction."

The head of Russia’s Roscosmos space agency, Igor Komarov, blamed employees and executives in Russia’s space industry for the delay.

Komarov told reporters on April 27 that “the responsibility for what is happening in the space sector lies with the people who are doing this work and supervising it.”

A Soyuz rocket carrying three satellites was due to be launched.

But the launch was halted less than three minutes before takeoff.

Russian space program officials said further delays were possible.

Putin also expressed anger towards six people who have been detained for alleged wrongdoing during the construction of the new cosmodrome.

"If those suspected of having committed wrongdoing are found to be guilty, they will have to replace their warm bed sheets with a prison bed," he said.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, Interfax, and AP

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