Russia, Kazakhstan sign agreement on creation of Baiterek launch complex at Baikonur

Russia, Kazakhstan sign agreement on creation of Baiterek launch complex at Baikonur

Baku, Azerbaijan, Aug. 22

By Fikret Dolukhanov – Trend:

Russia and Kazakhstan signed an agreement to create the Baiterek launch complex for a new Soyuz-5 medium-range missile at the Baikonur cosmodrome, Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency reported.

Director General of Roscosmos Dmitry Rogozin and Minister of Defense and Aerospace Industries of Kazakhstan Beibut Atamkulov signed the document within the "Army-2018" forum.

A promising medium-class carrier rocket Soyuz-5, which is developed in Russia, will be launched from Baiterek launch complex.

The first launch is scheduled for 2022. Russia will modernize technical complexes for space technology and create a complex for pre-launch preparation of the new manned spacecraft ‘Federation’ at Baikonur.

Kazakhstan will deal with the maintenance and operation of the launch and technical infrastructure remaining from the Zenit rocket, its reconstruction and modernization for the use of the new missile. Kazcosmos reported that it is ready to allocate about $314 million for these purposes.

In 2004, the presidents of the two countries signed an agreement on the effective use of Baikonur. A decision was made to create infrastructure for an environmentally friendly carrier rocket Angara at the cosmodrome.

In 2007, Kazakhstan complained that the cost of the project increased seven-fold compared to the original amount. In 2012, the possibility of replacing Angara with Zenit rocket in the project, which had the necessary infrastructure at Baikonur, was considered.

In 2014, a decision was made not to replace Angara with Zenit rocket of Ukrainian production in the Baiterek project due to the political situation in Ukraine.

However, in 2016 negotiations were launched to use a new Russian medium-class carrier rocket, which in 2017 was called Soyuz-5. In June 2017, the Russian-Kazakh commission agreed on this decision.

In April 2018, the Russian government published an order instructing the Roscosmos state corporation to hold talks with the Kazakh side with the participation of the Russian Foreign Ministry and, upon reaching an agreement, sign a protocol on the creation of the Baiterek rocket and space complex on behalf of the Russian government.

The flight tests are scheduled for 2024. The cost of one launch is estimated at $55-56 million.

Baikonur Cosmodrome is located in Kazakhstan and jointly managed by the Russian space agency Roscosmos and Russia's Aerospace Forces. Russia has agreements with the Central Asian country to lease the spaceport until 2050.

(67.1783 RUB = $1 on Aug. 22)

Follow the author on Twitter: @FDolukhanov

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