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Stellar birthday proposal: Russian space chief offers Turkey prospects in Baikonur project

Roscosmos State Space Corporation chief Dmitry Rogozin mentioned Russia’s readiness to train a Turkish crew for a flight to the ISS in 2023, when Turkey is scheduled to mark its 100th anniversary

ANKARA, September 18. /TASS/. On Wednesday, Director General of Russia’s Roscosmos State Space Corporation, Dmitry Rogozin, spoke of potentially getting Turkey to join a Russia-Kazakh joint venture for the use of the Baikonur launch pad in Kazakhstan.

"Roscosmos is ready to offer its rockets so that Turkey could launch its space vehicles. Besides, this is optional, and does not necessarily have to be done from Turkish territory. Instead, we could design a project for three parties to use Baikonur’s unique infrastructure," Rogozin said in an interview with Anadolu Agency.

"Among those participating in this project would be Turkey, as the country that organizes these launches, with Russia assisting in the transfer of technologies and Kazakhstan providing its unique space port. I think this is a good opportunity," the space agency chief said in the interview.

"Baikonur [is located] in Kazakhstan, which is a friendly nation to both Turkey and Russia, and is also a closely-related nation that speaks a Turkic language," he stressed. "I have already discussed this issue with my Kazakh friends. And if Turkey deems it necessary to create rocket technologies for itself, we will be ready to help with the engines, and with the transfer of certain technologies," Rogozin added.

He once again mentioned Russia’s readiness to train a Turkish crew for a flight to the International Space Station in 2023, when the Republic of Turkey is scheduled to mark its 100th anniversary.

"Soon, the Turkish nation will celebrate a milestone anniversary. We believe there is enough time to train a Turkish crew in order to send the first Turkish astronaut to the ISS in 2023," he went on to say.

"Right after Mr. [Turkish President Tayyip] Erdogan had visited MAKS air show, we held additional consultations with [our] Turkish colleagues, confirmed our proposal, asked that it be recorded in the protocol of the meeting, and we are now waiting for their reaction. I am sure it will be positive," the Roscosmos boss concluded.