Moscow may demand to review Baikonur lease agreement conditions
Baikonur. RIA Novosti ©
As Kazakhstan has restricted the number of Russia’s launches from Baikonur involving Proton-M carrier rockets to only 12 (instead of requested 17) in 2013, Moscow may demand to review the cosmodrome lease agreement conditions, Iterfax-Kazakhstan reports, citing Interfax Division for Military News as quoting a source in the Russia’s space industry. “A possible scenario is to initiate talks to have the rent payments tied to the extent to which the Baikonur satisfies Russia’s needs”, the source said. “Russia is meeting Kazakhstan’s requirements to stagedly decrease harmful emissions of the carrier rockets”, the source said, reminding that Kazakhstan cited environment concerns when restricting the number of launches. “In particular, Russia has implemented a costly program to modernize Proton carrier rockets to Proton-M. Heptyl-run Cyclon-2 and RS-20 are no longer used”, the source said, adding that “hardly will the sides come to terms within a short time”. The cosmodrome along with the town of Baikonur are rented out to Russia until 2050. The annual rent payments stand 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.