Kazakhstan Faces Baikonur Decay as Russia Builds New Spaceport

Soyuz rocket

In looking through Kazkosmos’ plans for 2010-15, I discovered what it costs Russia to maintain its presence at the Kazakhstan’s Baikonur Cosmodrome:

Based on the above is only logical that Russia considers beneficial to pay an annual $115 million dollars for the lease of the Baikonur Cosmodrome and invest annually $ 100 million to maintain its facilities. From the perspective of Kazakhstan receive annual rental fee is none other than the implementation of its unique competitive advantage. During the lease period the country’s budget has more than $1.8 billion U.S. dollars.

However, a unique competitive advantage in Kazakhstan cannot be sustained without effort on its part. According to experts the remainder of the physical and financial depreciation of technological equipment spaceport is still about 10 years old and probably no coincidence corresponds to the target date for the construction of the cosmodrome “East” in Russia.

In these circumstances the preservation of Kazakhstan to its unique competitive advantage in what is only possible through the development of the cosmodrome on the basis of their own space programs. Own space programs should be based on participation in the commercial launch, on the creation of its own production of spacecraft. Need to establish our own production of spacecraft is also connected with the fact that each year the country’s demand for a variety of space services, in particular in the services space communication systems, space remote sensing systems and satellite navigation systems.

Although Russia will continue to use Baikonur largely for commercial flights at a reduced rate after it moves to its new Amur spaceport, Kazakhstan will face more challenges in maintaining the aging facility. Thus, the country’s need to develop a more diversified space sector to bring in revenues and meet its own domestic needs.

Specifically, Kazkosmos identified the following weaknesses, opportunities and threats relating to Baikonur:

Opportunities

  1. steady growth needs of the world space market in commercial launches;
  2. the presence of Proton, Zenit, and RN Denpr
  3. strong niche in the global market commercial launches;
  4. an agreement between Kazakhstan and Russia about sharing the Baikonur and the joint creation of the CBC Baiterek; [for the new Angara rocket]
  5. Russia’s needs in land in Kazakhstan for use as an area falling separating parts of the LV.

Weaknesses

  1. obsolescence and depreciation Baikonur cosmodrome, which will result in the next 10 years the existing facility spaceport have exhausted their resources;
  2. rent for Baikonur Cosmodrome is not directed at the restoration of its fixed assets, and goes to current consumption;
  3. failure to take measures for the effective use of the commercial potential of the
    Baikonur launch site;
  4. lack of scientific and technological base;
  5. consumer attitude to this unique competitive advantage.

Threats

  1. Russia’s withdrawal to its new launch site “East”;
  2. increased competition from other major space centers in China, India, Korea;
  3. the global economic crisis;
  4. social forces for closing the Baikonur Cosmodrome in environmental reasons.

Kazakhstan faces a number of shortcomings as it attempts to shift away from reliance upon Baikonur and develop a more diversified space sector. These include:

  1. lack of existing design, technological and testing centers engaged in real market demand developments in the field of high-tech and innovative industries;
  2. lack of space-based, and generally high-tech and innovative industries;
  3. poor development of secondary and higher technical education, lack of education and training of scientific and professional personnel in the space field;
  4. poor preparedness of the legislative framework in research and production, high-tech and investment fields, as well as the absence of laws governing activities in outer space;
  5. the presence of risk of development of space activities in long-term measurements;
  6. lack of legislative support and infrastructure services to bring space activities to the end user.

Kazakhstan is addresses these challenges through an investment of 128.3 billion tenge ($817 million) from 2010-14. Key goals and targets include:

Goals

  1. the establishment of space systems, including the creation of a space segment;
  2. the consistency of the space infrastructure, including:
    – Creation of means of production space technology;
    – The development of launch vehicle spacecraft in space;
  3. transfer and development of advanced space technologies;
  4. training in the design and manufacture of advanced space technology.

Targets

  1. GVA growth of at least 85.0 billion tenge [$581 million] in 2015
  2. Export growth of at least 15.0 bln [$102.5 million] by 2015
  3. The degree of satisfaction of needs countries in the channels of the fixed satellite communications – 80% in services
    high-precision satellite navigation (% Coverage of the territory of Kazakhstan) – 30%
  4. The percentage of data from ERS satellites in Kazakhstan the total amount of space data,  provided to consumers – 50%.

It will be interesting to see if Kazakhstan can reach these targets in an increasingly competitive international market.