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Baiterek space project requires Kazakhstan to enter MTCR

14 january 2014, 22:21
0
Rocket-carrier Zenit at the Baikonur Cosmodrome. ©RIA Novosti
Rocket-carrier Zenit at the Baikonur Cosmodrome. ©RIA Novosti
Realization of Baiterek project that involves launches of Russian-Ukrainian carrier rocket Zenit from Baikonur Cosmodrome might start in several years at best, Tengrinews reports referring to Interfax-ABN.

"The main holdback in the project will be connected with Kazakhstan not being a member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR)," a source in United Nations told Interfax today, commenting the recent statement of Talgat Mussabayev, Head of KazKosmos National Space Agency of Kazakhstan.

"Even South Korea, the closest ally of the United States, spent several years completing all the necessary procedures to join the MTCR, that includes 34 member-states at present," the source pointed out.

"In case of Baiterek project, Kazakhstan seems to act as if everyone will keep silence because we are good guys, but it is not true," he pointed out. According to his assessment "nobody will response the words or plans." But right after the practical implementation of the project starts, sanctions will follow. They may be applied to KazKosmos itself, as well as to Russian and Ukrainian enterprises -- the possible participants of the project.

The source reminded the 1991 situation that occurred with Russia that was not a member of the MTCR at that point. It entered into a commercial agreement with India to supply it a cryogenic (oxygen-hydrogen) upper stage rocket (the 3rd stage of a carrier rocket). And members of the MTCR applied several years of economic sanctions against several Russian enterprises.

"Russians remember that case very well, but they pretend that nothing is happening. However, their loses may be huge in case of the project's implementation is started," the source believes.

"Such actions can deprive the Russian space industry enterprises from important imported components and stop their financing via American banks," the source warned.

Earlier Mussabayev said that Russia and Kazakhstan "basically reached an agreement on the common regime of use and maintenance of a launching site on the base of Zenit booster. "We agreed and documented that Baiterek rocket launching project will be developed using Zenit carrier rocket. Russia’s rent of the launching site will ceased by January 2015, and the site will be transferred to Kazakhstan that will undertake all the maintenance expenditures that make around $10 million," he said.

Federal Russian Space Agency has not made any comments on Mussabayev's statement yet.

The Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) was established in April 1987 by Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Great Britain, and the United States. The MTCR was created in order to curb the spread of unmanned delivery systems for nuclear weapons, specifically delivery systems that could carry a minimum payload of 500 kg a minimum of 300 km.

Russia joined the MTCR in 1995.

Initially the Baiterek project was supposed to be developed at Baikonur Cosmodrome on the base of Russian Angara carrier rocket that was considered to have a lot of potential. However the first launch of the booster from Plesetsk Cosmodrome, located near Russian city Arkhangelsk, was delayed several times and in the end Kazakhstan gave up on using Angara carrier rocket and create Baiterek on the base of Russian-Ukrainian Zenit booster.

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