- Tell us about the main results of the first meeting of the IPC.
- The issue of cooperation between Russia and Kazakhstan on the Baikonur cosmodrome was really discussed on 28-29 in March of this year. at the level of the newly created intergovernmental commission. Since its creation in September, the 2011 meetings have not been held and no specific agreements have been reached.
The issue of resuming negotiations on the cosmodrome has arisen recently, in connection with the readiness of the two parties to share their vision and inform each other about the preparatory work carried out. At the first meeting, a wide range of topical issues of cooperation was considered. In particular, it is the development of a Roadmap for the joint use of the Baikonur complex, the preparation of a new intergovernmental agreement regulating the procedure for joint use of the cosmodrome, the development of its scientific and technical potential, the creation of joint missile systems, personnel training, and the participation of Kazakhstani specialists in launch services. development of the city of Baikonur.
The parties agreed to begin a concrete review of the draft Roadmap as part of a joint working group, the first meeting of which is scheduled for May of this year. On this basis, work will continue on the draft of a new intergovernmental agreement.
In addition, issues related to the implementation of the Baiterek project, further work on preparing for signing projects of international treaties governing various areas of the functioning of the Baikonur complex, including the life activity and social development of the Baikonur city, were considered.
- Is it possible to say that the outlined disagreements about the cosmodrome's tomorrow are overcome?
- We have no disagreement. We confirm the unconditional commitment of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the Lease Agreement, which was concluded in 1994, and the Agreement, signed by the presidents of the two countries in 2004, and providing for the extension of the lease term to 2050.
We believe that the Baikonur cosmodrome is an excellent opportunity for the implementation of joint programs in the field of innovation, scientific, educational and space activities. As I have already said, by the end of May we will work out approaches to creating a Roadmap for updating the legislation that governs our joint use of the cosmodrome.
As for launches, our space agencies have agreed on an agreed schedule for their implementation at 2013 year, and now we will plan this work for the medium term.
In general, until the end of the year, we will discuss and resolve on a mutually beneficial basis the accumulated issues that concern both cooperation in the space industry and the life activity of the city of Baikonur.
- What specific steps are envisaged in the Roadmap you mentioned?
“The roadmap involves updating legislation that regulates our sharing of the spaceport.” In essence, this will be a new basic agreement that takes into account mutual interests. Also in it we must take into account the prospects for the development of the city of Baikonur.
- In the informational message on the results of the meeting of the commission it was stated that the parties reached an agreement on the implementation of the project to create a Baiterek cruise ship using the Zenit launch vehicle. At the same time, a little earlier it became known that the Russian side is planning to develop its new Vostochny cosmodrome, with an emphasis on this carrier. Would such an approach in the future be an obstacle to the implementation of the "Baiterek" project?
- If in previous years the implementation of the Baiterek rocket and space complex was proposed on the Angara rocket carrier, now the parties have agreed to implement it on a phased basis on the Zenit rocket carrier.
Nurlan Aselkan, CEO of COSMOS.KZ:
- The meeting of the Russian-Kazakh IPC on the Baikonur complex was announced before the New Year. It was planned to put the problems that had previously been voiced in the press completely from a new angle and to begin a search for approaches to their solution. I must say: this is a big plus that the meeting took place as scheduled and that it took place at all.
For the first time, not only experts, but also heads of departments and heads of government at the level of deputy prime ministers looked into each other’s eyes, voiced their vision of existing problems. That is, it is certainly positive. But another is interesting. At the end of the meeting, the IPC co-chairs commented on its results in quite different ways. Mr. Kelimbetov made an emphasis on the fact that a decision was made on the final transition in the Baiterek project from one launch vehicle to another. Specifically, from the "Angara" to "Zenith". This information was presented by the Kazakh media as the main substantive component of the last meeting. The Russian side, through the mouth of Mr. Shuvalov, said that the launch schedules for the current year were agreed upon and a long-term launch schedule for the next two to three years is being worked out. The Russian Deputy Prime Minister also informed that the prospects for the development of the city of Baikonur and the cosmodrome itself were discussed in the light of new trends and suggested mechanisms for their implementation. The Russian side had no specification of the results of the negotiations on the Baiterek project and its carriers.
In general, this (when the Russian side evades the concretization of its position) during the negotiations on Baikonur is not the first time. Perhaps it is worth paying attention to, since it can be concluded that the path from the Angara to Zenit will not be easy. So many commentators and experts say.
Of course, a politically acceptable formula was found: not exciting the public, suggest a project transformation option and leave the Baiterek brand as it is. Actually, this is a complete change of the rocket and, accordingly, the construction site of the launch: instead of the former launch site of the storm, the existing zenith platform is used. Nearby there is a destroyed (also “zenitovskaya”), the question of whose restoration will be considered. That is, the rocket is changing, the place of deployment is changing, the structure and format of the project are changing. Therefore, the investments that should be invested in the project with the advent of “Zenith” are completely different. They may be less than in the project with “Angara”, but what is being discussed now involves the preparation from scratch of a number of key documents and plans. This is a feasibility study, and conceptual design, and modernization plan with a schedule of investments. So "Baiterek" is a completely new project, which is simply called as before. I guess there will be a lot of difficulties along the way.
Recently, an interview was published with the head of the Center for the Operation of Ground-Based Space Infrastructure (Roscosmos Division) A. Fadeev, who spoke about what his company does. And it provides the ground component of all launch services both at Baikonur and in the territory of the Russian Federation. Regarding cooperation with Kazakhstan, Fadeev for the first time voiced an interesting thing, which in principle is known to specialists, but it sounded at the official level for the first time. According to him, the Russian side plans to create on the basis of the 45 platform Zenit on the right flank of Baikonur a joint Kazakh-Russian enterprise that will launch missiles for our two countries in a priority order, and for the rest - in a commercial one. At the same time, Fadeev warned that very many knowledge, technologies and objects of work on the site are associated with access to rocket technologies. And many of these knowledge, information and competencies cannot be transferred to the Kazakhstani side, since they fall under the international regime for controlling missile technologies. Say, we are ready to work and we will look for ways out of the situation, but let you know.
I believe that this will be a serious obstacle to the implementation of our plans. Especially considering the fact that all the work on the launch pad is somehow connected with rocket technologies. And if you remove them from the list of works on the launch pad, you will only have to sweep, guard ...
Therefore, this question must be solved, and the sooner the better. I must say that Kazakhstan has been knocking on the control mode for rocket technologies for more than ten years. And the decision of this question was repeatedly postponed. On this occasion, there are different opinions. There is a point of view that we simply do not have the beginnings of the rocket and space industry and therefore it is difficult for us to apply for membership in this club. Kazakhstan speaks about the readiness to create the foundations of this industry - permitted, connected with the peaceful exploration of space. But the presence of the regime hinders our aspirations. There are also extreme opinions: they say our partners, including the Russian Federation, are interested in such an unfavorable, disadvantaged position of Kazakhstan. It is difficult to say how it really is, but the problem must be solved from two sides.
First, we need to formally and informally work out the issue with the members of the regime. First of all, with such leading, as the United States and the Russian Federation. I emphasize, the Russian Federation. Ask them for help in joining. And do not break your forehead on this mode when we start a big project.
Secondly, of course, we must start our own business, our experimental base, and conduct our own developments. Because as long as we develop the cosmic component, and not the military one, we have the right to create, in the end, from scratch on our own, without stealing, without appropriating. But we have the right to create. And having created, we will have more reason to do so in the future. At the moment, this is the weakest side of Kazcosmos activity.
Now back to the intergovernmental commission. She apparently outlined the very first range of issues and outlined a schedule of meetings in order to consistently solve problems one after another. The political stage, when the volitional decision forced the representatives of the countries to sit down against each other, passed relatively quickly, and now the routine begins, which, I am afraid, harbors a lot of underwater reefs.
What is this about? For example, a big problem lies in the modernization and reconstruction of the interstate agreement 2004 of the year on the Baiterek complex. For this it is necessary to remove the mention of the rocket "Angara". And since there is no Angara missile, the question arises of a partner from the Russian side. Until the last moment it was the State Rocket and Space Center. Khrunichev. If we are talking about Zenit and another launch pad, then it is clear that the center of Khrunichev is leaving the project. Who will come in his place? There are two candidates. The main one is the Center for the operation of ground-based space infrastructure, headed by Mr. Fadeev. He deals with launch services everywhere and, in the opinion of many, can become a partner of the Kazakhstani structure in this project. Another candidate is the Energia rocket corporation, which was related to the creation of the Zenit launch vehicle. It supplies the upper stage to it and quite successfully operates a similar project at sea (the so-called “Sea Launch”).
The problem of the withdrawal of one Russian participant and the arrival of a new one there, rewriting the entire legal framework is a job for at least a year. And it must be accelerated in every way. Because only we are interested in the rapid implementation of the project. I can say this, knowing the situation.
Another point that remained out of sight and somewhat alarming experts. The Zenit launch vehicle was developed in the Soviet time by the Dnepropetrovsk Yuzhnoye design bureau and is still being manufactured at the Yuzhmashzavod in this city. And the non-inclusion of the Ukrainian side in the negotiation process is not a good sign. Perhaps, the Russian Federation and the Republic of Kazakhstan are going to attract Ukraine to another negotiating platform, but the sooner this is done, the more profitable it will be for the business, and for Kazakhstan as well. Since it is clear that the system of the three components is more stable, especially in the conditions of dominance of such a great space power, like Russia. Especially against the background of Kazakhstan, only taking the first steps in this direction. And then let's not forget that Ukraine is not just a formal manufacturer of missiles. She is the owner of the design and technical documentation. Without Ukrainian specialists, no action with a rocket is possible. Designer supervision of the carrier "Zenith" is conducted by specialists of the Yuzhnoye design bureau. Therefore, I repeat: the sooner we attract them, the better. Perhaps, in this regard, Kazakhstan meets certain objections from our Russian partner, but here one can only guess.
The Russian side voiced a proposal on the possible participation of Kazakhstani structures and investments in the creation of the Vostochny cosmodrome. In my opinion, this is a very interesting idea. The space industry of any country has a global market, and this should be remembered by Kazakhstani specialists. I have already said earlier that since we are engaged in the Zenit carrier, that is, there is a direct need to have our reasonable share in the Sea Launch. This will reduce the cost of production of missiles, provide customers with a large range of services. As for "Vostochny" and "Angara", then besides finance, we can bring in the developments created by the Baiterek JV team earlier. "Angara" is the main project of the Russian cosmonautics, a lot of money is spent on it, and our participation in it, albeit at a foreign cosmodrome, can bring a lot of advantages. Start-up services are a serious, high-tech business, and we must be able to work at different sites, with different carriers who are able to insure each other, to cooperate with all parties. Only in this way will be the result.