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President Nazarbayev suggests launching Baikonur Innovation Fund in partnership with Russia

19 september 2012, 23:49
0
Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin
© RIA Novosti
Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin © RIA Novosti
President Nazarbayev is offering his Russian counterpart Valdimir Putin to turn the Kazakhstan-based Baikonur cosmodrome into a globally recognized innovation brand, a Tengrinews.kz journalist reported from Pavlodar, the host city of the IX forum of transborder cooperation between Kazakhstan and Russia.

“Baikonur could be an international innovation brand, a symbol of a higher stage of the bilateral cooperation between the two nations. To carry out joint space research projects, we could launch a unique (…) Baikonur Innovation Fund. Besides, Kazakhstan is interested in launching space research labs in Astana which have already been discussed with Mr. Putin”, President Nazarbayev said.

He emphasized that within the joint statement on space exploration issued in June 2012, the two nations will be working on long-term space cooperation program to the benefit of both sides. “It is important for the program to include modernization of the Baikonur town so that the infrastructure could be in line with the time”, he said.

Baikonur is the first and largest cosmodrome in the world. Located in Kazakhstan, it is rented out to Russia till 2050.

Baikonur is closer to the Equator than other launch sites – a situation that facilitates geostationary orbit or orbits less inclined to reach the International Space Station (ISS). This privileged geographic placement enables the launch of more significant payloads.

The cosmodrome has been rented out since 1994. Annual rent stands at $115 million. $100 million is transferred annually to maintain the infrastructure.

Mid-April Tengrinews.kz reported, citing Russia’s RosCosmos Space Agency Vice Head Aleksandr Lopatin as saying for Russia’s Kommersant.ru, that “Cosmodrome Baikonur has been overstretched for the recent years”.

“Russia is responsible for 40% of all space launches in the world, with a lion’s share of the launches performed from Baikonur. The cosmodrome has been overstretched. We have to look for times to maintain the facility and get it properly ready for launches”, Mr. Lopatin said.

“Baikonur is rented from Kazakhstan. It is a unique facility enabling to accomplish the whole range of tasks. However friendly Kazakhstan may be, the facility is a rented one. It is a political issue. I don’t mean that Kazakhstan may abruptly “cut off the oxygen” for Russia (…) All leading space powers of the world do have cosmodromes of their own. Vostochnyi cosmodrome based in Russia to some extent will be duplicating functions of Baikonur in terms of sending payloads to all types of orbits … Vostochnyi cosmodrome will be capable of supporting all the Russia’s federal space projects, including defense projects”, he elaborated.

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