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Kazakhstan is waiting for Russia’s decision on Baiterek space launch complex

20 февраля 2012, 15:02
RIA Novosti©
RIA Novosti©
The Kazakh side is waiting for an official decision of the Russian Federation on the joint Kazakh-Russian project to construct the Baiterek (“poplar tree”) space launch complex for the Russia's new booster rocket, the Angara, at the Baikonur cosmodrome, Vice Head of the KazKosmos National Space Agency Mr. Meirbek Moldabekov said.

“We are waiting for the leadership of Russia to make clear its plans with regards to space industry”, he said in a recent interview for Megapolis.kz.

“The Russian side is obviously facing financial problems. The nation lacks funds to develop Rus booster rocket to be initially built for the Vostochny cosmodrome in the Russian Far East. Therefore Russia is actively considering using the already developed Angara booster rocket at its Vostochny cosmodrome. Vostochny is to be completed by 2020. As it shares the same latitude with Baikonur, these two will be directly competing”.

“Should a space launch complex for the Angara booster rocket be constructed in the Far East, it is no point for the Kazakh side to compete with its major strategic partner. And the Baiterek project may be terminated”, Vice Head of KazKosmos said.

Initially the Baiterek (“poplar tree”) space launch complex was supposed to be constructed at Baikonur in 2013, following the testings of Angara booster rocket. In January 2011 construction of the launch complex was delayed to 2013. In July 2011 Vladimir Popovkin, Head of RosKosmos, announced that construction has been postponed to 2017.

Tengrinews.kz reported earlier that Kazakhstan’s National Space Agency KazKosmos demanded an additional agreement with Russia on constructing the Baiterek space launch complex. According to Talgat Mussabayev, the Agency’s Head, the new agreement should specify exact timeframe and obligations of the parties.

“From 2004 the cost of the project has increased from $223 million to $1.36 billion. It’s time to sit down and think if we really need the project that is likely not to pay back. The risks are huge”, Mr. Mussabayev said, calling to specify Russia’s liability in case of failed supplies. “Who would need the $1.36 billion launch complex should there be no booster rockets supplied”.

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