Putin evacuates whole village as junk from new space rocket to smash into homes

Vladimir Putin has ordered the evacuation of a village in Russia's far east as the boosters from his new space rocket are set to fall on the settlement.

In their first Moon mission since 1976, Russia's space agency said it would launch the lunar module Luna-25 from a space launch base more than 5,550km kilometers (3,450 miles) from Moscow.

The people of the Shakhtinskyi settlement in Russia's Khabarovsk region, just southeast of the launch site, are packing their bags ahead of their August 11 deadline.

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The village is in an area where rocket boosters are expected to fall after the rover separates.

"The mouth of the Umalta, Ussamakh, Lepikan, Tastakh, Saganar rivers and the area of the ferry crossing on the Bureya River fall into the predicted (booster) fall zone," Alexei Maslov, head of the Verkhnebureinskyi district in the Khabarovsk region, said on the Telegram messaging app.

"The residents of Shakhtinskyi will be evacuated."

The Russian Government said the mission aims to develop soft landing technologies, in addition to researching the Moon's internal structure and exploring resources such as water.

The lunar module must operate on the surface of the Moon for at least one year. It will be the first lander to arrive on the South Pole of the Moon, Roscosmos has said.

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The BBC reported the launch site Vostochny was Russia's first purpose-built civilian site for commercial space launches.

The facility was built well away from big cities to reduce the risk of rocket debris hitting any large urban centre.

At Plesetsk cosmodrome, a site on the other side of Russia, around 620 miles north of Moscow, there have been more than 1,500 space launches since 1997, according to the Times.

There, parts of the rockets that fall to earth provide an "unexpected resource for locals" according to the publication.

Scavenging for parts to build sleds and boats has become an "illegal but thriving business".

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