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BAIKONUR, June 13. /TASS/. Russia and Kazakhstan have agreed a program of financing and the accelerated development of the Soyuz-5 carrier rocket and the creation of the launch infrastructure for it at the Baikonur space center, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said on Tuesday.
"Today we [Rogozin and Kazakhstani Vice-Premier Askar Mamin] as co-chairmen have managed to understand and accept the essence of what enormous work the governments of our countries have to carry out with regard to expediting financing for this work so that in the estimates of Roscosmos [Russia’s State Space Corporation] we can start with this program in early 2022," Rogozin said at the 5th session of the Kazakhstani-Russian inter-governmental commission for the Baikonur space center.
As the Russian vice-premier said, the talk is about developing a new program for the upgrade and further construction of the Baiterek compound based on the launch pad for the Zenit carrier rocket.
According to Rogozin, the Russian side will assume increased obligations for financing and developing a medium-class rocket, which is intended to solve many issues related to restoring the leading positions of Russia and Kazakhstan on the market of space launches.
"Therefore, we expect that already in 2022, when the program of the ISS [the International Space Station] is still in effect, we’ll get the possibility to conduct the launches of a new highly competitive rocket and a new manned spacecraft to the ISS and subsequently start other manned flight programs that will also be within the sight of Kazakhstani authorities," the Russian vice-premier said.
"In turn, Kazakhstan will become an absolutely full-fledged partner of Russia with regard to the provision of space infrastructure at Baikonur," Rogozin noted.
On its part, Kazakhstan is investing considerable funds as part of the Baiterek project into the upgrade of the launch site at the Baikonur cosmodrome, the Russian vice-premier said.
"We’ll get both the technical compound and the launch pad precisely for the new rocket, which is called the Soyuz-5," Rogozin said.
"As a result, we have agreed to tighten all our financial plans and also a plan for developing all the required technical documentation and hold by early 2022 drop tests and then carry out a full-fledged launch of a promising manned transport spacecraft, which will first operate in the interests of the ISS, considering that infrastructure has long been developed and exists here, at Baikonur, for work with cosmonauts," the Russian vice-premier said.
As Rogozin said, after 2024, when a final decision is made on how to continue the manned flight program, launches will also be carried out from Baikonur as part of the Baiterek project.
The Russian vice-premier also said that preparations should be made by 2021 to launch the Angara rocket from the Vostochny spaceport in the Russian Far East.
The next stage will envisage developing a launch site for a super-heavy rocket, Rogozin said.
"That is why, the Baikonur and Vostochny spaceports are no alternatives today. This is a single system of our understanding of how to move further in outer space exploration," the Russian vice-premier said.
The experience of building the Vostochny cosmodrome will be taken into account during the creation of the Baiterek compound, Rogozin said.
"We believe that these decisions are of long-term and strategic nature not only from the viewpoint of the development and the life of the town of Baikonur and the unique compound developed here during the Soviet period but will also be of great significance for further deepening our relations between Russia and Kazakhstan," Rogozin said.