Stumbling Block - Baikonur
According to the head of the national space agency of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Talgat Musabaev, made as part of his speech before the country's parliament, it is planned to conclude a new agreement between Russia and Kazakhstan, according to which Baikonur will be transferred to the jurisdiction of Kazakhstan. Thus, at present, negotiations are underway between the two parties on a phased departure from the terms of the lease agreement signed in 1994. At the same time, negotiations are underway to create a new, “comprehensive” treaty.
According to Musabaev, the solution of this task was entrusted to him by the head of state Nursultan Nazarbayev after his meeting with his Russian counterpart V. Putin. Musabayev emphasized that the departure from the conditions of the arena will be phased. Termination of the lease is not immediately possible, since this can cause a real disaster, the official said.
At the same time, no more or less specific terms for changing the status of the cosmodrome were named. According to representatives of Kazakhstan, this is explained by the fact that the Russian side stubbornly does not want to come to a common solution of this issue.
The head of Kazkosmos noted that the first stage of negotiations on the termination of the lease is connected with the withdrawal of launch sites for Zenit from the jurisdiction of Russia. In fact, this is a separate cosmodrome, which is located on the “right flank” of Baikonur. And if the Kazakhs manage to withdraw it from the lease and become full participants, it will be a big step forward for Kazakhstan, said Musabayev. This project is designed for launches of Angara and Zenit missiles. Using it, Kazakhstan made every effort to keep Russia with itself, while maintaining a monopoly on space transits.
However, according to Andrei Grozin, an expert at the Institute of CIS Countries, the Kazakhs are not at all interested in “expelling” Russia from Baikonur. And all these statements are aimed at other purposes. According to him, the Kazakh side has a great interest in the development of the right wing of the cosmodrome. Kazakhstan wants to receive them in full ownership in order to get the opportunity to make big money not only on Russian leases, but also on joint launches with Ukrainians and Europeans. However, according to most experts, such behavior of the Kazakhs, on the contrary, can lead to actions of the Russian side that are completely unexpected for Astana, in particular, to speed up the construction of their space sites.
Recall that when the Kazakh side first made such statements on 10 in December of last year, Russian experts and the leadership of the cosmodrome received them with great caution.
Then the official Kazakh authorities in the person of Foreign Minister Yerlan Idrisov were quick to declare that there would be no break in relations between Kazakhstan and Russia, since this is naive and unwise. At the same time, Idrisov made an assumption that journalists are to blame for everything, who misunderstood the meaning of what Musabaev said. However, a serious scandal broke out in the press.
Then a statement was made that a special commission would be set up in the near future, which would include representatives of two states: from the Kazakh side, it would be headed by Deputy Prime Minister Kairat Kelimbetov, and from Russia, First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, who will have to decide the fate of the spaceport. The creation of a commission of this kind was stipulated by the terms of the agreement that the states signed in 1994, but three years later this commission transferred the functions of the subcommission. Therefore, at present, all issues are discussed at the level of the subcommittee on the spaceport, which is part of the structure of the Russian-Kazakh cooperation commission. December 16 The intergovernmental commission of Kazakhstan and Russia on Baikonur was established, and the Russian government, which until then had not responded to the statements of its Kazakh colleagues, finally sent an official note, demanding an explanation regarding the sharp statements made by the head of Kazkosmos Musabayev Russian jurisdiction of the Baikonur cosmodrome.
At the same time, it can be said that the Kazakhs do not intend to retreat. This is evidenced, in particular, by the visit of Kazakh Prime Minister Serik Akhmetov to Baikonur, which, in turn, proves that decisions will be made at the highest level.
It should be noted that reports about the possible withdrawal of the Baikonur cosmodrome from under Russian jurisdiction appeared in November. The initiator of this issue was precisely the Kazakh government. However, the specialists themselves who work at the cosmodrome, with great distrust, refer to the prospect of becoming subordinate to Kazakhstan. They are confident that the termination of the Russian lease of the cosmodrome will lead to the disbandment of the Russian administrative and security agencies ensuring the operation of the cosmodrome. As a result, the Russians will begin to massively leave the country. During the creation of the Kazakh authorities, there will be a shortage of personnel, which is now quite acutely felt at the cosmodrome, because there are not enough engineering personnel who would have enough experience to work on space technology.
It must be said that problems in the process of cooperation between the two countries began several years ago, more precisely, in 2011, when one of the deputies of the Kazakh parliament, Amangeldy Momyshev, demanded an increase in Russia's rent for using the Baikonur cosmodrome to a billion dollars. In response, to such statements, the then head of Roskosmos, Anatoly Perminov, said it was necessary to incorporate the complex after the launch of the new cosmodrome. He also noted that in the event of a distribution of shares, the Russian side may have about 70 percent of the shares, while the Kazakhs will get only 30 percent.
History It was continued in the spring of 2012 of the year, when the Kazakh side did not allow Russia to use its territories as an area of the fall of the first stage of the “Union” Thus, the Kazakhs have put in jeopardy the fulfillment of three space launches scheduled for this summer. The Kazakh government tried as long as possible to resolve the issue of the use by the Russian side of the 120 area, located in the north of the state, without issuing a special permit.
The ban of the Kazakh authorities entailed sending to orbit three Russian and four foreign satellites: the space meteorological apparatus MetOp-B, the Russian satellites MKA-PN1 and Kanopus-V, and the Russian Resurs-P (the launches were planned respectively on 23 May, June 7 and August 2012 of the year). All in all, Russia was planning to launch 36 travelers into orbit, thus breaking the record for the number of space launches.
Recall, the Baikonur cosmodrome, according to the 1994 contract of the year, is leased by the Russian Federation to the 2050 year. Currently, there are no comments from the Russian side about the statements of the Kazakhs. At the same time, the Russian Federation this year has begun the construction of a new cosmodrome in the Amur Region - the Vostochny. The first flight from it is already scheduled for 2015 year, at the same time, it will be fully commissioned only in 2020 year. It is assumed that a launch complex for the Angara - launch vehicles of a new generation will be built at Vostochny. It was originally planned that the launch pad would be located at the Baikonur cosmodrome, since this project was intended to be joint for the two states. Therefore, according to some experts, such harsh statements by representatives of Kazakhstan are aimed at forcing the Russian side to return to the original plan, and at the same time try to increase the rent for using Baikonur.
On the other hand, if you believe the statements of representatives of Roskosmos, the cosmodrome can survive no more than ten years, which is primarily due to the high level of moral and technological equipment wear. In such conditions it is much easier to build a new complex than to spend huge amounts of money on upgrading the old one. In addition, according to the Russian side, there is no need to pay for the rental of Vostochny. And given that Baikonur annually costs the Russians 315 million dollars, of which only 115 million is rented, and the remaining 200 million is spent on maintaining the complex’s vital activity and operational condition of the facilities, it becomes obvious that Vostochny is indeed more acceptable for Russia option.
By the way, the construction of a new cosmodrome is not profitable for Kazakhs, because about a third of the population of Baikonur are Russian specialists in the rocket and space field, as well as their family members. And if the cosmodrome goes under the jurisdiction of Kazakhstan, they will leave, and there will not be enough Kazakhstan’s own specialists (engineers, designers and technicians) to ensure the normal operation of Baikonur.
Opinions of experts regarding the actions of Kazakhstan related to the Baikonur cosmodrome differ slightly. Thus, according to Igor Markin, an analyst at Investkafe agency, there may be several explanations for these actions: either the Kazakhs plan to use the site for their own purposes, since there are some projects, or is this a clean policy - the desire to achieve their interests in the future? showing himself a strong opponent.
According to Natalia Kharitonova, coordinator of the United Eurasian Expert Network, this position of Astana may be the cause of some political disagreements between the two states that arose after the Russian government slightly changed its foreign policy strategy regarding the post-Soviet republics.
At the same time, all experts agree that if Kazakhstan decides to declare itself as an independent space power, great difficulties await it, because the country does not have its own specialists in this industry, and quickly retrain and pick up people will not work. Thus, in any case, you will have to seek help from Russia ...
Meanwhile, events continue to evolve. In 2013, Kazakhstan allowed Russia to conduct only 12 launches of Proton-M launch vehicles, referring to environmental safety. Russia, as you know, requested permission to launch 17 missiles.
As a result, in many print publications, information appeared that Moscow may well require Astana to reconsider the terms of the spaceport lease. At the same time, the number of launches approved by the Kazakhs turned out to be less than what was previously agreed upon last year. Therefore, in response to such actions, Russia can reduce the amount of funds that are annually paid to Kazakhstan as a lease. Thus, the amount of rent will directly depend on the performance of its functions by the Baikonur cosmodrome.
According to a source related to the Russian rocket and space industry, the Russian side went to meet its Kazakh colleagues and gradually reduces the amount of harmful emissions from launching rockets. As for the Proton missiles, they have been significantly upgraded. In addition, the launch of PC-20 and Cyclone-2 heptyl missiles was completely halted.
At the same time, the source claims that it is impossible to accomplish the scheduled launches at any other cosmodrome, in particular, in Plesetsk, because there is no launch facility for this type of missile.
At the same time, the same source noted that if the situation is not resolved in the near future, such actions by Kazakhstan can inflict enormous harm on Russia and deprive it of its authority as a space state, because the reduction in this case will affect commercial launches. Start-up Russian operators will be forced to pay large penalties for not being able to fulfill their international obligations, and there they are not far from bankruptcy.
The source also noted that, apparently, in the near future the parties will not be able to agree, and tensions in the space relations of the two states will only increase.
Meanwhile, expert opinions on this issue also differ. According to some, the reduction of launches is a purely political step of Kazakhstan, which thus wants to emphasize its importance and significance, and in the end agreements will be reached on 17 launches.
Another part of the experts agrees that Russia can even refuse to launch launches at the Baikonur cosmodrome due to the intractability of the Kazakhs. So, in particular, according to the corresponding member of the Academy of Cosmonautics of Russia Yuri Karash, such decisions are to the detriment of the national interests not only of Russia, but to a greater extent of Kazakhstan itself. In the event that Moscow abandons Baikonur, Kazakhstan will no longer be considered a respected space power, and Astana is absolutely not needed. As for Russia, it will have minor difficulties, because the country has sufficient rocket and space potential, the construction of a new cosmodrome is underway. Thus, the missile program of Russia will not lose much.
The Kazakh side, represented by the head of Kazkosmos, Talgat Musabaev, at the end of 2012 of the year, made a statement that in the future it would also coordinate a mechanism for coordinating launches as a lever of pressure on Moscow. At the same time, the government of Kazakhstan assured the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs that there are no obstacles to further successful cooperation between the two states in the space industry. But if we analyze the constantly emerging disagreements around the Baikonur cosmodrome, we get a completely different impression ...
- Valery Boval