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Tourists may be allowed at Baikonur during EXPO-2017

07 февраля 2014, 22:35
Assembly and testing block at Baikonour.
Assembly and testing block at Baikonour.
©RIA Novosti
©RIA Novosti
Tourists traveling to Kazakhstan to attend the EXPO-2017 may be offered the opportunity to have a tour round Baikonur cosmodrome, the country’s Vice PM Bakytzhan Sagintayev said at a recent extended sitting at the KazKosmos National Space Agency.

“There have been plans to take advantage of Baikonur to develop tourism industry in Kyzylorda oblast (…) tourists could have a tour around Baikonur facilities when traveling to Kazakhstan for EXPO-2017”, he said.

Late December 2013 Tenhrinews.kz reported, citing the Press Service of the Ministry of Industry and New Technology, that $ 1 million had been invested into a tourist project at the Kazakhstan-based Baikonur cosmodrome.

“Kazakhstan-based Diamond Trans has invested about $1 million to start the Space Harbor project that will feature trade and entertainment zones, hotels and office space. The project is centered around a glass dome enabling to observe space launches. The project seeks to ensure safety and comfort of arriving tourists. The administration of Baikonur city is considering renting out lands totaling 10 hectares adjacent to the facility under construction. Russia and Kazakhstan are expected to sign bulk of documents on space tourism projects early 2014”, the Ministry’s press-release read.

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.

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 ($28.8 million) a year from the Russian federal budget.

Russia’s Roskosmos Federal Space Agency spent over $33.3 million in 2012 to maintain infrastructure and space facilities at the Kazakhstan-based Baikonur cosmodrome, Interfax-Kazakhstan reported February 1, 2013, citing Yuzhny Space Center Evgeniy Anissimov as saying.

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