The Kazakh and Russian space agencies have signed an agreement to move forward with the long-delayed construction of the Baiterek launch complex at Baikonur, the official state news agency Kazinform reports. The launch pad will host Russia’s new Angara family of rockets.
The deal was signed in Mosow by Roscosmos head Vladimir Popovkin and his Kazakh counterpart, Talgat Musabayev, at the end of a two-day inter-governmental gathering to discuss operations and future plans for the Kazakh-owned and Russian-leased spaceport in Central Asia.
Kazinform reports that the two sides approved “tactical-technical requirements” for the Baiterek complex, which was begun in December 2004. These requirements have changed over the years as the Angara project advanced.
The key challenge now is to find funding to complete the project. According to RussianSpaceWeb.com, the cost of the project has ballooned from $223 million to $1.248 billion over the past seven years, with completion slipping to 2017. Officials have left funding decisions to a later time, Kazinform reports:
Kazkosmos submitted a draft protocol to Roscosmos on amendments to the Intergovernmental Agreement on the establishment of the cosmodrome “Baikonur” space rocket “Baiterek” on December 22, 2004, revised in the light of co-financing the project.
In turn, the Federal Space Agency informed Kazkosmos on progress in the comprehensive analysis of financial costs for the program “Angara-Baiterek”.
T. Musabayev and V. Popovkin agreed that to identify a specific decision on the issue of co-financing the project “Angara-Baiterek” they will hold another meeting in the town of Baikonur in December 2011.
Angara is a new Russian rocket that is designed to replace several boosters now in use. It is set to make its debut flight during the second half of 2013 from Plesetsk.