Perminov: We’re Staying at Baikonur Forever

Soyuz rocket

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.

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Twenty Years Later, Kazakhstan Waits (and Waits) for Second Cosmonaut’s Flight

Soyuz rocket

For more than 50 years, thousands of rockets have thundered from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, sending a series of historic firsts in space:  satellite (Sputnik), human (Yuri Gagarin), space station (Salyut 1), lunar probes and more  Hundreds of cosmonauts have lifted off from the cosmodrome and landed to hero’s welcomes on the Kazakh steppes since 1961.

But in all time, and in all those flights, how many ethnic Kazakhs have ventured out into humanity’s final frontier?

One. Un. Uno. Ein. Один.

And that’s is not sitting very well with the nation’s first cosmic voyager, Tokhtar Aubakirov: (more…)

Angara Project Hits Snag With Funding Issues

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.”

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Astrium, Kazakhstan Sign Development Deal

eads_logoASTRIUM PRESS RELEASE

The partnership between Astrium and JSC NC Kazakhstan Gharysh Sapary (KGS), the national company charged with the development of Kazakhstan’s space programme, has reached another major milestone with the signature of a contract for two Earth observation satellites, and the foundation documents to create a Joint Venture for the construction of an Assembly, Integration and Test Facility in Astana. (more…)