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Cosmodrome Baikonur has been overstretched for the recent years: RosCosmos Space Agency Vice Head Aleksandr Lopatin

12 april 2012, 14:39
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Baikonur cosmodrome. Stock photo of Tengrinews.kz
Baikonur cosmodrome. Stock photo of Tengrinews.kz
Cosmodrome Baikonur has been overstretched for the recent years, Russia’s Kommersant.ru reports, citing RosCosmos Space Agency Vice Head Aleksandr Lopatin as saying.

“Russia is responsible for 40% of all space launches in the world, with a lion’s share of the launches performed from Baikonur. The cosmodrome has been overstretched. We have to look for times to maintain the facility and get it properly ready for launches”, Mr. Lopatin said.

“Baikonur is rented from Kazakhstan. It is a unique facility enabling to accomplish the whole range of tasks. However friendly Kazakhstan may be, the facility is a rented one. It is a political issue. I don’t mean that Kazakhstan may abruptly “cut off the oxygen” for Russia (…) All leading space powers of the world do have cosmodromes of their own. Vostochnyi cosmodrome based in Russia to some extent will be duplicating functions of Baikonur in terms of sending payloads to all types of orbits … Vostochnyi cosmodrome will be capable of supporting all the Russia’s federal space projects, including defense projects”.

Tengrinews.kz reported late September 2011 that in 2011 Russia was to pay a total of $116.9 million in rent, with another $25 million in rent for military testing sites.

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. Russia pays in military equipment. $50 million is transferred annually to maintain the infrastructure.

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