On the eve of the New Year, the governments of Russia and Kazakhstan agreed on a “road map” on the use and development of the Baikonur cosmodrome complex and the city of the same name. The head of the National Space Agency of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Talgat Musabayev, told Izvestia correspondent Ivan Cheberko what the rules would be for the planet’s largest space launch center to begin operating and operating from the beginning of 2014.
- Talgat Amangeldievich, are you satisfied with the Baikonur road map signed between Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation? Are the interests of Kazakhstan taken into account in the document?
- The adoption at the intergovernmental level of the “road map” on Baikonur is a big step in the development of partnerships. This step was given to us, frankly, not easy - with those who led the Russian Space Agency in previous years, we sometimes could not agree on very simple questions for many years. Now relations have become significantly better, I want to thank the new head of Roscosmos Oleg Ostapenko and Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin for their constructive approach. Finally, we managed to enter the territory of our own cosmodrome located in our country. Before that, the conversation was short: “We’re not empty, that's all, a secret object.” What's so secret about that? If that was, then now everyone knows everything. There were phrases about the observance of the non-proliferation regime of rocket technologies, but this is mostly an excuse.
- You say that you were not allowed to the cosmodrome. But at the same time, “Kazakhstan Garysh Sapary”, back in 2011, received permission to increase its stake in Kosmotras, an operator of launch services for Dnepr missiles. And the shareholders of the International Space Services Company, which leases the starting position for Zenit, were ready to sell you even a controlling stake in the company. Consequently, Kazakhstani structures could enter the launch services market even without an interstate agreement ...
- Against these transactions Roscosmos objected. The former management of the agency did everything possible to keep us out of Baikonur. Without the consent of Roskosmos, without guarantees of the continuation of programs along the same Dnipro, without reaching mutual understanding in matters of price policy, the acquisition of shares did not make sense, it would be money thrown to the wind. But I persistently raise the topic of Cosmotras at every meeting with Russian colleagues. To date, there is an agreement on the parity participation of Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan in the authorized capital of Kosmotras, each of the founders will have 33,3% of shares. However, the situation with Dnipro is not clear now. There is no official paper from the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, which would guarantee the continuation of the conversion program for these missiles. Dmitry Rogozin promised to provide such paper. As soon as the paper is ready, we will immediately launch the stock repurchase process.
- Can we say that relations between Kazakhstan and Russia on Baikonur and all space issues have warmed over the past year?
- Can. Now we have agreed on a “road map” that we have been preparing for the year. How did we cook it? You’ll write something, propose it, send it to Moscow, that is, to Roscosmos. Whatever you write, everything is wrong, nothing suits. Ostapenko appeared - everything immediately became so. Everything is the same, but everything is so. What can I say? Apparently, the point is not in some serious disagreements between the allied states, but in the position of individual officials. The human factor - as they say in aviation.
- What activities are provided for by the “roadmap”?
- The changes will affect the launch facility for Zenit carriers and the city of Baikonur itself. In fact, we agreed on the mode of their sharing and maintenance. We agreed and recorded on paper that the project to create the Baiterek rocket and space complex will be implemented using the Zenit launch vehicle. Until January 2015, this complex will be taken out of the lease of Russia and transferred to Kazakhstan, which will bear the cost of maintaining it - about $ 10 million. This, however, is about the joint use of the complex, not that we will independently work there and missiles run. We realize that today it is impossible. We also plan to upgrade Zenith in the future in order to create a heavy-class rocket based on this complex, so that it can later replace Proton. We also agreed to work out the possibility of co-creating a light-class rocket for Baikonur.
- To make a heavy class rocket out of Zenit means creating a new rocket ...
- No, you do not need a new one; deep modernization will make a heavy-class rocket, theoretical studies are already there. Modernization is planned by us for 2020 – 2022 years.
- Does it bother you that Russia, more precisely, the Russian company, has the Sea Launch complex, which also works with Zenit? Will there be excessive competition in the launch services of the same rocket?
- We still do not fully understand what will happen to the Sea Launch, the situation here is not clear for us, we will talk about this. Moreover, the Sea Launch, now owned by RSC Energia, has exclusive marketing rights for the Zenit rocket. Here still to understand and understand. But the main thing is that the decision as a whole has been made, and we will be able to agree on the details later.
- Literally on the eve of the signing of the Baikonur agreement, Dmitry Rogozin said on Russian TV that already in 2018, a manned spacecraft was launched from the East, and on the Angara rocket. Did you have a conversation about these plans with your Russian colleagues? Yet the topic directly concerns Baikonur ...
- I would not like to touch on the Eastern theme, this is absolutely not my diocese. Due to the fact that I still have some idea of cosmonautics, I can assume: such statements are nothing more than a desire to improve the negotiating position with Kazakhstan.
- What are the plans of Kazakhstan to develop the launch services market?
- Our country plans to become a space power. Now we will launch rockets together with Russia. And they would like to do it together in the future. Neither I nor any sane person in Kazakhstan wants Russia to leave Baikonur. We are partners and allies, and for such a level of interstate cooperation it is normal to have joint strategic projects. If Russia ever wants to leave Baikonur, we would not want the spaceport to die. We will do everything we can to Baikonur and continue to be the gateway to space, we will implement the space program on our own. But I’ll stress: we would like Russia to always remain at Baikonur.
- In addition to the rocket theme, Kazakhstan is developing other areas of space activity. Tell about them.
“Within the framework of the national space program, we are creating a communication and broadcasting system based on KazSat satellites — now the Reshetnev ISC is finishing work on the third device, it is planned to be launched next April. At the same time, Kazakhstan specialists are teaching and practicing at Reshetneve. The ground control segment of the devices has already been created, equipped and staffed by our specialists. By launching KazSat-3, we plan to complete the formation of our own telecommunications satellite system.
Another area of relevance for us, as the ninth country in the world in terms of area, is the area of activity — the creation of a satellite system for remote sensing of the Earth. This project is implemented by the state-owned company “Kazakhstan Garysh Sapary” in collaboration with EADS Astrium, which is building one unit for us. Another satellite is being made by the British company SSTL. I can say that a state-of-the-art optical-electronic remote sensing system is being created, only a few states have such now.
We are also completing the construction of a high-precision satellite navigation system. We in 2008 year concluded an intergovernmental agreement on the sharing of GLONASS, and then began to create ground infrastructure, focused on the use of two systems - GLONASS and GPS. This is a network of differential correction stations that allow us to have highly accurate data. The project is implemented by “Kazakhstan Garysh Sapary” and the National Center for Space Technology in Almaty, which united a number of strong scientific organizations that remained from the times of the USSR. The 50 differential stations have already been installed, next year the system will be fully equipped and will begin operation. A maritime local differential station was commissioned near the city of Aktau on the Caspian Sea.
The building of the National Space Center of Kazakhstan has almost been built, where remote sensing services will be based, high-precision positioning, and there will still be a center for the production of spacecraft. This is our joint venture with EADS, we will learn to create satellites ourselves. Production of this level is not available anywhere else in the CIS; there will be a full cycle - from the idea to the finished, already tested apparatus. We have already agreed with the ISC Reshetnev on the formation of a community of enterprises - we want to create production cooperation in the future in order to mutually complement each other.
- What changes for the city of Baikonur are provided for by the “road map”?
- These changes will affect mainly the citizens of Kazakhstan. More subdivisions of the authorities of the Republic of Kazakhstan will appear in the city, which will provide public services on Kazakhstan legislation. We fundamentally agreed on the need to resolve the issue of applying the administrative legislation of the Republic of Kazakhstan to Kazakhstan citizens at the Baikonur complex. On this issue will be a special agreement. As you know, in 2008, the issue of the application of the criminal law of Kazakhstan was resolved. These issues have long prevented us in due time from ratifying the agreement to extend the lease of Baikonur to 2050.
At Baikonur, there will finally be an opportunity to train children in schools in Kazakhstan’s education standards and issue Kazakhstan-style education documents. Now, even in the Kazakh schools of the city of Baikonur, education is carried out according to Russian programs, according to Russian textbooks translated into Kazakh. Earlier it came to the fact that Kazakhstani children learned from these textbooks that our homeland is Russia, the capital is Moscow.
Also, Kazakhstan will now participate in the development of the infrastructure of the city of Baikonur, including helping the city with kindergartens and other social facilities. Polyclinic, school, hospital have already been built. Agreed on the need to develop business activities in the city of Baikonur. It was also agreed that the cellular companies of Kazakhstan will now be able to work at Baikonur.
- Could not before?
- No, only Bee Line and MTS were. Others were not allowed.
- Will the implementation of the plans set out in the “road map” somehow affect the main lease agreement for Baikonur by Russia before 2050?
- Now this is not a question. The “road map” was taken to solve the accumulated problematic issues and continue to continue long-term mutually beneficial cooperation. I can assure you that if the agreements reached will be implemented, no one will raise this issue.
- The amount of rent will not change?
- This issue has not been discussed. It should be understood that $ 115 million is a rather symbolic amount, it does not reflect any objective parameters. So at one time the heads of state agreed - Nursultan Nazarbayev and Boris Yeltsin. And since then, to discuss this amount has not been returned. I feel right. It is clear that $ 115 million 20 years ago and now is a different money. But the question of the cost of renting was never the main thing for us.
- Is the Proton missile theme sensitive for both Russia and Kazakhstan reflected in the Road Map?
- According to "Protons" the question is always acute. We already have an “anti-heptyl” society here. At the Russian Embassy stand with posters. When did it happen that they stand in Kazakhstan at the Russian embassy? We understand that in the near future, Russia will not be able to abandon the Protons. Alright, let them fly. But at least let them not fall! The “Protons” roadmap contains the following: “Preparation of recommendations on the number of launches of Proton-M launch vehicles from the 2016 year in order to reduce the environmental burden on the environment of the Republic of Kazakhstan”.
- The formulation is streamlined.
- It is important that the question is raised, there is a solution to it. On a further agreement.
- Was it possible to solve the issue of the selection of the RF fields of incidence for parts of the rockets that bring satellites to a solar-synchronous orbit?
- Fundamentally yes. As soon as a protocol on additions to the agreement on the Baiterek project concerning the use of Zenith launch vehicles is signed, we will immediately sign an agreement on the allocation of a new area of incidence.