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Russia, Kazakhstan to start building new space rocket complex in 2021

June 02, 2015, 21:19 UTC+3 BAIKONUR
The Baiterek space rocket complex will be developed on the basis of the Angara launch vehicle
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© EPA/TASS/SERGEI ILNITSKY

BAIKONUR, June 2. /TASS/. The construction of the Baiterek space rocket complex at the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan will begin in 2021, Kazakh First Deputy Prime Minister Bakytzhan Sagintayev told reporters on Tuesday.

"Today, we have finally agreed in principle to begin the construction of the complex in 2021," Sagintayev told a briefing after a meeting with the Russian delegation led by Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin. "We’ll develop Baiterek on the basis of the Angara launch vehicle, and with this end in view we’ll have to prepare the entire technical base by 2021. This includes the preparation of technical documentation, plus personnel training."

According to him, during the talks the Russian side also agreed with Kazakhstan "that our specialists over the period until 2021 will participate in the launches of the Proton rockets as full-fledged employees to gain the experience."

Baiterek is one of the most ambitious space projects in the former Soviet states. The agreement on its implementation was signed by the leaders of Kazakhstan and Russia in 2004.

On Monday, Deputy Chairman of the Aerospace Committee (Kazcosmos) of the Ministry of Investment and Development of Kazakhstan Meirbek Moldabekov told TASS that Kazakhstan was ready to continue the implementation of the project for the creation of the Baiterek space rocket complex and its further financing even with increases costs. However, he said, it is possible only on the condition of the "preservation of the status of the joint project and the Russian side’s participation in it on a parity basis."

Referring to the change in the project cost, he said that it is currently "impossible" to specify the sum. "This requires justified estimates that we don’t have at present. These calculations should be presented by our Russian partners. The feasibility study and a number of expert examinations will be conducted on their basis. Only after that it will be possible to speak of about any specific figures and the sum of the project cost increase," he said.

According to Moldabekov, "In addition to the issue of funding, the factor of the project joint implementation is equally important." "The degree of interest and participation of Russia in this project is a key issue for the Kazakh side at present," he said.

According to earlier plans, the Baiterek space rocket complex was to be created on the base of Baikonur spaceport by 2022. Joint proposals between Kazcosmos and Roscosmos to implement the project were approved during the second session of the Kazakh-Russian intergovernmental commission at the Baikonur complex held on November 24, 2014. In his annual address to the people, Nazarbayev said that the state should expand its role in the global space market by 2030 and bring a number of ongoing projects to fruition. This includes constructing the spacecraft assembly and test complex in Astana, establishing the space system for remote sensing and a national space monitoring system and ground infrastructure system for high-precision satellite navigation.

The Baikonur complex, which includes the launch site, was founded 60 years ago. On June 2, 1955, by the directive of the General Staff of the USSR Armed Forces, the organisational and staff structure of the Research Test Site No 5 was approved. This day is considered Baikonur’s establishment date. In 2014, Baikonur once again received the title of the most used spaceport in the world. Twenty-one rockets were launched from Baikonur in the past year, 19 of which were successful. Cape Canaveral in the United States followed with 18 launches, all of which were successful.

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