October 8, 2008

Kazakh Cosmodrome to Continue to Operate Even If Russia Abandons It – Official

Text of report by privately-owned Interfax-Kazakhstan news agency

Almaty, 7 October: The National Space Agency of Kazakhstan (Kazkosmos) does not rule out that in future, Russia may abandon the use of the Baykonur [space ground] and it [Kazkosmos] develops plans on the further functioning of the space centre.

In particular, the deputy chairman of Kazkosmos, Meyrbek Moldabekov, noted at a Kazakh-Ukrainian scientific and practical conference entitled "Modern space technologies" in Almaty on Tuesday [7 October] that Kazakhstan has to "react" to Russia's decision on setting up its own space launch site, Vostochnyy , in the Far East.

"In connection with the decision of Russia, we have to think of setting a task of maintaining further functioning of the space ground on the basis of our own potential due to presumable withdrawal of Russia from Baykonur in some time," Meyrbek Moldabekov said.

He noted that "the main objective" for the work will be "designing of the Bayterek rocket complexes jointly with Russia and Zenit jointly with Ukraine". "In this context, we plan to establish an international space centre in Baykonur," Meyrbek Moldabekov said.

Furthermore, it is also intended "to develop infrastructure, administrative and housing complexes and work on further guarantees of the complex's safety" in Baykonur, Meyrbek Moldabekov noted.

As is known, Russia has rented the Baykonur space ground since 1994. The rent duration, in accordance with the latest agreements between the sides, is till 2050.

Originally published by Interfax-Kazakhstan news agency, Almaty, in Russian 1030 7 Oct 08.

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