Russia to resume launches at Baikonur within a month 08 июня 2012, 14:17
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Baikonur cosmodrome. RIA Novosti©
Russia will resume launches at Baikonur within a month, Newskaz.ru reports, citing Roskosmos (Russia’s State Space Agency) Head Vladimir Popovkin as saying June 8.
However, he didn’t specify whether Russia and Kazakhstan have agreed on the drop zone for rocket debris.
“[Postponed launches] have nothing to do with any prohibitions or bans (…) Kazakhstan hasn’t prohibited any launches that were concerted in advance. This issue shouldn’t be politicized”, KazKosmos (Kazakhstan National Space Agency) Head Talgat Mussabayev told journalists in Almaty on Friday.
Tengrinews.kz reported earlier that Kazakhstan and Russia have been unable to come to terms over the drop zone for rocket debris. The launches that are set to be shelved or already postponed for this reason are the launch of European meterorological satellite MetOp-B that had been due May 23, the launch of Belarussian, Canadian, German and two Russian satellites on June 7.
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. $50 million is transferred annually to maintain the infrastructure.
Russia would keep on cooperating with Kazakhstan at the Baikonur cosmodrome while the Russia-based Vostochnyi cosmodrome is gaining momentum, Tengrinews.kz reported mid-April, citing Russia’s Vice Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin as saying following a sitting on the national space industry presided over by PM Valdimir Putin.
Mr. Rogozin emphasized at that time that not a single space power operates from other countries’ cosmodromes.
“In fact, Russia will be operating from two major cosmodromes – Plesetsk and Vostochnyi. The first has to do with defense projects (…), whereas Vostochny (…) is about ambitious projects, including lunar projects (…)”, he said.
“In the meantime [while the Vostochnyi cosmodrome is being developed], we will be operating from the modernized launch pads at Baikonur. We are currently negotiating with Kazakhstan over the whole range of space projects, while strengthening Russia’s full independence in terms of space projects and launch pads of its own”.