Zenit launch site located at Baikonur cosmodrome will be transferred to Kazakhstan in 2015, Interfax reports with reference to the head of the National Space Agency of Kazakhstan (Kazkosmos), Talgat Musabayev.
“The lease of facilities related to Zenith-M launch site will be terminated in January 2015 and the facilities will be transferred to the Kazakh party”, - he said during his speech at Mazhilis (lower house of the Kazakh parliament). “So far we have approved the list of facilities related to Zenith-M launch site to be excluded from the lease agreement with Russia and a list of technical standards and regulatory and administrative documents of Russian Federation required for operation of Baiterek launch site by the Kazakh organization”, - Musabayev explained.
According to him, in December 49 employees of the Kazakh organization will complete their training focused on operation and maintenance features of Zenith launch site, its components and systems. The training is necessary in order to carry out acceptance of the launch site and to ensure its reliable operation after termination of the existing lease.
Musabayev reminded that Baiterek project would be implemented on the basis of the Zenit launch vehicle. The main purpose of the project is to replace Proton rocket, which uses highly-toxic propellants, with more eco-friendly launch vehicles. The presidents of Russia and Kazakhstan approved the project in late 2012.
“This project is of strategic importance for the national interests of Kazakhstan since it is the only real opportunity to save the future of Baikonur cosmodrome, assure its gradual transition to Kazakhstan and solve its environmental problems. These steps will help Kazakhstan enter the global market in this segment”, - the head of Kazkosmos noted.
The Kazakh Baikonur cosmodrome was leased by Russia; the lease agreement will expire in 2050.