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Russia hopes changes to the Baikonur lease agreement will be introduced only after 2050

11 december 2012, 08:03
0
Rocket launch from Baikonur cosmodrome. ©RIA Novosti
Rocket launch from Baikonur cosmodrome. ©RIA Novosti
Future status of the Baikonur cosmodrome may be discussed before the lease agreement between Kazakhstan and Russia expires in 2050, Interfax-Kazakhstan reports, citing Russian Duma Committee for the CIS Affairs Head Leonid Slutskyi.

Commenting on the public announcement made by Talgat Mussabayev, Head of KazKosmos Kazakhstan’s National Space Agency [about a new agreement to gradually edge away from lease-based relations over Baikonur], Mr. Slutskyi emphasized that the anticipated agreement would seek “gradual shift from lease to shared use (…) the format and the timeframe of the new agreement are yet to be defined (…) Obviously, the changes are likely to be introduced after the current lease agreement expires in 2050”.

He highlighted that Russia and Kazakhstan are working closely towards launching the Eurasian Union in 2015. “Parameters of this supranational union are being defined (…) let us hope that cooperation, including in space research, will be further strengthening”, he said.

He reminded that Russia and Kazakhstan had been jointly using Baikonur cosmodrome since 1999, with the lease agreement extended before 2050 back in 1999. He also emphasized that Russia annually pays $115 million to rent the facility. The Parliamentarian expressed hope that the “current agreement will not be terminated ahead of schedule”.

On Monday Talgat Mussabayev, Head of KazKosmos National Space Agency, announced that Kazakhstan and Russian are working out a new agreement to gradually edge away from lease-based relations over the Baikonur cosmodrome. He also added that Baikonur town may be transferred under the Kazakhstan’s jurisdiction.

Both the town and the cosmodrome are rented by Russia before 2050. It costs Russia 5 billion roubles a year to run the facility.

The town accommodates over 70 000 people, with 37% being Russia’s citizens. About 4 000 Russia’s citizens are here almost permanently on business trips to facilitate space launches.

The town budget receives over 1 billion roubles a year from the Russian federal budget.

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.

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