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Kazakhstan's parliament approves spaceport cooperation with Russia

Xinhua | Updated: 2019-12-19 10:25
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Rescue vehicles and helicopters approach the Russian Soyuz MS-12 space capsule landing near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan October 3, 2019. [Photo/Agencies]

NUR-SULTAN -- The lower house of the Kazakh parliament on Wednesday approved the amendments to a Kazakh-Russian agreement on building the Baiterek space rocket complex at Baikonur Cosmodrome, state news agency Kazinform reported.

Kazakh Minister of Digital Development, Innovation and Aerospace Industry Askar Zhumagaliev said Kazakhstan plans to allocate 233 million US dollars to modernize the Zenit-M space launch facility at Baikonur.

Russia will carry out the production of Soyuz-5 carrier rocket, testing equipment, modernization technical complexes and upgrading spacecraft, which will cost about 916 million US dollars, Zhumagaliev said in parliament.

He added the original plan was to build a launch pad for Angara rockets, but due to multiple delays, the two countries decided to cooperate on launching the Soyuz-5 medium-lift rockets.

"Both decided to implement the project on the basis of the Soyuz-5 launch vehicle. In general, Russia is responsible for the creation of the rocket, and we are responsible for the ground-based infrastructure," Zhumagaliev said.

Zhumagaliev said the Baiterek project will help the Baikonur Cosmodrome maintain its leading position, and promote strategic partnership between Kazakhstan and Russia in space area.

According to Tass, the Baiterek project is scheduled to be implemented from 2020 to 2023.

On Aug. 22, 2018, Kazakhstan and Russia signed a protocol on the amendments and supplements to the bilateral agreement of Dec. 22, 2004. The two sides agreed to build the Baiterek launch complex for Soyuz-5 at Baikonur.

Baikonur Cosmodrome, located in southwestern Kazakhstan's Kyzylorda region, is jointly managed by the Russian space agency Roscosmos and Russia's Aerospace Forces. Russia leases the spaceport until 2050.

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