Kazakhstan thinking of replacing Proton carrier rockets with Zenith: KazKosmos Head23 june 2014, 13:48
Kazakhstan may have to incur expenses to modernize Zenith carrier rockets to replace Proton currently in operation, Tengrinews.kz reports, citing Talgat Mussabayev, Head of KazKosmos National Space Agency as quoted by Newskaz.ru.
“We want to have Proton carrier rockets replaced with Zenith. Proton carrier rockets are unique and unsurpassed facilities. However, they run on highly toxic fuel. Therefore I have been speaking in favor of their replacement”, he said when speaking in the country’s Majilis (lower chamber).
“I have told repeatedly that the use of Proton carrier rockets should be terminated in Kazakhstan’s territory. It cannot be done at the present stage for a number of valid reasons”, he added.
According to him, Zenith carrier rockets are of medium payload capabilities, and as such unable to replace heavy Protons. “However, through extended modernization we could bring carrying capacities of Zenith to those of Proton”, he said.
However, according to him, such a project calls for substantial investments. “Russia has no intention to do that. Kazakhstan may have to incur the expenses. With a respective political decision, we are ready to have the plan through”, he said.
No more than 10 Proton carrier rockets will be launched from the Kazakhstan-based Baikonur cosmodrome [rented out to Russia] this year, Newskaz.ru reported early February 2014, citing Meirbek Moldabekov, Vice Chairman of KazKosmos National Space Agency.
“There were plans to launch 14 Proton carrier rockets; however, there will be no more than 10 actual launches”, he told journalists on the sidelines of the extended sitting at the Agency today.
Russia’s Proton-M carrier rocket [equipped with a DM-3 booster] carrying three Glonass-M navigation satellites crashed right after the lift-off at Kazakhstan-based Baikonur cosmodrome on July 2, 2013. Kazakhstan estimated the damage caused by the accident at 13.5 billion tenge ($89.5 million).