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Kazakhstan permitted Russia to resume launches from Baikonur

18 june 2012, 18:39
0
Photo courtesy of visitkazakhstan.nur.kz
Photo courtesy of visitkazakhstan.nur.kz
Russia has received the permit from Astana to resume launches from Baikonur cosmodrome, RIA Novosti crites citing Kazakhstan Prime-Minister Karim Massimov as saying after his talks with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev.

"We have agreed that Kazakhstan issues a permit to Russia for these unplanned launches," Massimov said.

Earlier head of Kazakhstan Space Agency Talgat Mussabayev explained that the launches were suspended because of the lack of inter-government agreement on the drop zone for the rocket debris.

"Head of RosKosmos Vladimir Popovkin visited Astana last week but he failed to get a positive decision from Kazakhstan structures," the source at the cosmodrome told Interfax-Kazakhstan on June 13. "Should the decision have been a positive one, the launches could have been resumes in the beginning of July and beginning of August. Now they will be possible only in several months and probably in the end of the year. If we have to wait for signing and ratification of the agreements on the drop zones, the launches may be postponed until the middle of the next year," the source said.

He reminded that preparation for two launches of Soyuz rockets started at Baikonur in the middle of spring: Soyuz-2.1a rocket with European meteorological space vehicles MetOp-B and Soyuz-FG rocket with a cluster of Russian satellites Kanopus-B and MKA, Belarus BKA, Canadian ADS-1B and German TET-1. "However, it turned out in the middle of the launch campaign that Russian party does not have the agreements with Kazakhstan authorities on the drop zones for Soyuz rocket debris: the launches have to be made on the rarely used so-called "grey route". The drop zones for such rarely used routes require a separate agreement every time, and there was none for these launches," the source said.

"The efforts of RosKosmoc to resolve this problem had no results: Kazakhstan experts believe that allocation of the drop zones requires an agreement between Russia and Kazakhstan. Such agreement has been prepared for several years and not ready for signing yet," he added. According to the source, now "Kanopus and BKA satellites are switched to a storage mode and the experts dealing with their preparation are leaving the cosmodrome". "European MetOp was switched to a storage mode even earlier," the source added.

He also stated that traditionally the rockets are launched from Baikonur eastward with the azimuth of 63 to 73 degrees. The rare launches on the so-called "southern route" are made in the direction of the equator with the azimuth of 78 degrees. "In this case the first drop zone is at the territory of Turkmenistan and the second is in the Indian ocean," he said. "Northern route" of the launches from Baikonur has the azimuth of 94 degrees. The rocket's route goes over northern Kazakhstan, Chelyabinsk, Sverdlovsk and Perm oblasts of Russia. The first drop zone is in the north of Kazakhstan, the second is in Perm oblast and the third is between Greenland and Spitzbergen islands.

"During the launch on the "Northern route" the satellite is brought to the so-called "polar" or "sun-synchrone" orbit. This enables the spacecraft to fly over high latitudes and near-polar regions. Such orbit is necessary for meteorological satellites and Russian satellites of Earth remote sensing," the source said.

Russia performs the majority of is state and commercial space launches from Baikonur cosmodrome. The cosmodrome has been rented out by Kazakhstan to Russia since 1994. Located in Kazakhstan, it is rented out to Russia till 2050. Annual rent stands at $115 million. $50 million is transferred annually to maintain the infrastructure. Baikonur is the first and largest cosmodrome in the world. Russia plans to gradually move the state launches to its cosmodromes Plesetsk and Voctochnyi.

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