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Cosmonauts to abandon Soviet-era space base by 2020: report
by Staff Writers
Moscow (AFP) April 11, 2008

Russia To Conduct 28 Space Launches From Baikonur In 2008
The number of spacecraft to be launched from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan will increase 33%, year-on-year, in 2008 to a total of 28, the local mayor said on Tuesday. Baikonur, built in Kazakhstan in the 1950s, was first leased by Russia from Kazakhstan under an agreement signed in 1994 after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Russian officials have repeatedly said Russia will continue to use the Baikonur launch site until at least 2050. Alexander Mezentsev, the mayor of Baikonur, told a news conference that Russia launched a total of 21 carrier rockets from the site in 2007. At present, the two countries are working to build a space complex at Baikonur, Baiterek, to launch Angara carrier rockets capable of delivering 26 metric tons of payload into low-Earth orbits. The project is being implemented on a parity basis and enjoys tax, customs and other privileges. Kazakhstan and Russia have reportedly each allocated $223 million for the construction of the Baiterek launch site under a 2004 agreement. "We have prepared the documentation and developed technical requirements [for the project], and all that's left is to start construction," Mezentsev said without revealing any specific details. (RIA Novosti)

Russia will end manned space launches from Kazakhstan's Soviet-era Baikonur cosmodrome by 2020, replacing it with a launch pad in Russia, a top official said Friday, Interfax news agency reported.

All cosmonauts will instead take off from the new Vostochny base, planned in Russia's southeast near the Chinese border, the head of the Russian space agency Roskosmos, Anatoly Perminov, was quoted as saying.

"By 2020 all piloted space programmes will be moved to this cosmodrome," Interfax quoted him as saying.

Perminov was speaking after President Vladimir Putin urged increased investment in the Russian space programme at a meeting of the Russian Security Council, a top advisory body.

"We must ensure guaranteed Russian access to space," Putin said in comments broadcast on national television.

Russia should be able to hold launches of all kinds from its own territory "from satellites, to manned spacecraft and interplanetary missions," Putin said.

Russia and the United States run the world's most active space programmes, with manned flights from Baikonur or Cape Canaveral in Florida respectively.

China's Jiuquan Space Centre is the third facility capable of handling manned missions.

In 1994, Russia agreed to rent Baikonur from Kazakhstan for 115 million dollars (91 million euros) annually, and this will continue until 2050 under a new agreement signed in 2004 by Putin and his Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev.

However in 2006 Russia said it would withdraw all military personnel from Baikonur for relocation to a rocket launching centre at Plesetsk near Arkhangelsk in northern Russia.


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Progress M-63 Successfully Buried In South Pacific
Moscow (RIA Novosti) Apr 08, 2008
Russia's Progress M-63 space cargo ship was successfully 'buried' on Monday at a spaceship cemetery in the southern Pacific, a Mission Control spokesman said. "Having partly burned up in the Earth's dense atmosphere, Progress ended its existence in the designated area in the southern Pacific," the spokesman said. In February, Progress M-63 delivered 2.5 metric tons of cargo, including food ... read more

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