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Russia to give up renting Zenit launch pad at Baikonur: media

19 july 2013, 17:42
Zenit rocket. ©RIA Novosti
Zenit rocket. ©RIA Novosti
Russia will start transferring the rented property at Baikonur cosmodrome to Kazakhstan with International Space Services company, Izvestia writes.

According to the newspaper, the company is 50 percent owned by Ural Mining Company of Iskander Makhmudov. The company has a principle agreement on selling the stake to a Kazakhstan state company. International Space Services rents the launch pad for Zenit carriers rockets at Baikonur that is now getting ready to launch a rocket with AMOS-4 Israeli satellite.

“We have principally agreed with Kazakhstan that they will purchase the stake in the company. We are now decided on how to do it. Procurement of Ural Mining Company's stake is one of the option. We are now consulting our Kazakhstan partners on maintenance of the infrastructure. We are taking it out in a mild pace, studying the details,” deputy General Director of Ural Mining Company Mikhail Gerassev said.

Presidents of Russia and Kazakhstan agreed on the new principles of use of Baikonur in February 2012. Russia agreed to review Baikonur rental agreement signed until 2050 and gradually give up rent of several facilities of the cosmodrome and start their joint exploitation that will include training of Kazakhstan experts.

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. Later a group of Kazakhstan activists wrote a letter of protest where they called to review agreements renting various sites in Kazakhstan out to Russia, including Baikonur cosmodrome. The incident was caused by the human factor: sensors were improperly connected during the rocket's assembly.

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