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Kazakhstan hoping to expand its presence at Baikonur 16 сентября 2013, 19:51

The expansion will envisage joint efforts of the two nations and will not be to the detriment of relations with Russia, according to him.
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Erlan Idrissov. Photo courtesy of kursiv.kz Erlan Idrissov. Photo courtesy of kursiv.kz
Kazakhstan hopes to expand its presence at the Baikonur cosmodrome in close cooperation with Russia, according to the Kazakhstan’s Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov. In an interview for Russia’s Nezavisimaya Gazeta, he said that “Kazakhstan wants to expand its presence and unleash its potential in space exploration. The expansion will envisage joint efforts of the two nations and will not be to the detriment of relations with Russia”. Back in 2004 the two nations signed an agreement to extend lease of Kazakhstan-based Baikonur to Russia to 2050. According to the Foreign Minister, the agreement is important for both sides. He emphasized that the agreement seeks to stagedly reduce launches of rocket carriers run on highly toxic types of fuel. “To this end, works are under way to build a more environment-friendly Baiterek (“poplar tree”) space launch complex. Once in operation, the space complex will enable to stop launches of Proton rocket carriers”, he said. 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. 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. 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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