There’s a great scene in the 1988 movie, Married to the Mob, in which Connie Russo (Mercedes Ruehl) explains the facts of Mafia life to Angela de Marco (Michelle Pfeiffer).
“We’re your friends, Angela, whether you like it or not,” she declares.
Angela was family, and there was no escaping it. Not even after Connie’s covetous husband, Tony “the Tiger” Russo (Dean Stockwell), rubbed out Angela’s hit man husband, “Cucumber” Frank de Marco (Alec Baldwin).
The situation is not so different for Kazakhstan. Nearly 20 years after it became the last Soviet republic to declare independence, the nation remains joined at the hip with Russia through its Baikonur Cosmodrome. And don’t expect that to change — ever.
RIA Novosti reports that Russia’s delay plagued Angara rocket is facing some additional funding issues, this time involving the $446 million launch complex being built for it at Baikonur:
Kazakhstan’s national space agency, Kazcosmos, has requested more funding for the joint Russian-Kazakh project to build a new launch pad at the Baikonur space center.
In late December 2004, Russia and Kazakhstan signed the deal to build a new launch pad, named Baiterek, to send into space Angara carrier rockets capable of delivering 26 metric tons of payload to low-Earth orbits. The project is being implemented on a parity basis.
“Today a problem emerged in implementing this project – we have trouble with repaying a budgeting loan, the grace period of which expired in November,” the agency’s chief, Talgat Musabayev, told Prime Minister Karim Masimov.
Musabayev requested the premier to convene a special meeting “to address the future funding of the Baiterek [launch] complex.”
Construction of new Russian space port Vostochny wonâ€™t impact Baikonurâ€™s operations, Head of Russian Federal Space Agency Anatoly Perminov said during the press conferenceÂ after the 13th meeting of the Baikonur Subcommittee of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Kazakhstan Intergovernmental Cooperative Board hosted by Astana on Nov. 9-10.
“Design and research efforts are ongoing currently at Vostochny. In other words, we are preparing the territory for further construction. It will continue at least for the first half of 2011,” Roscosmos Head stated.
Here’s an intriguing piece on StrategyPage.com about the future of the Baikonur launch complex in Kazakhstan. As I have written about here, the Russians plan to pull out of the facility after they have completed a new launch complex, Vostochny, in Amur.
The magazine Der Spiegel has a very good story about the future of Kazakhstan’s Baikonur launch complex. It centers on International Launch Services president Frank McKenna, an American who helps to oversee commercial launches from the formerly supersecret Soviet spaceport where Sputnik and Yuri Gagarin roared into history 50 years ago.