Russia Seeking To Keep Kazakh Space Site Until 2044|
Moscow (AFP) Oct 02, 2002
Russia is negotiating with Kazakhstan to continue to use that country's Baikonur cosmodrome as a satellite launch site through to 2044, Russia's space agency said on Wednesday.
Nearly three-quarters of all Russian satellites and more than half of its military satellites are launched from Baikonur, which became part of a foreign country when the Soviet Union split up.
The Russian defence ministry had earlier announced plans to transfer all launches to the Plesetsk cosmodrome, under development in Russia's far north, from 2005 onwards.
But a senior space official said last Spring it was unlikely Russia would manage to transfer its military satellite launches to its own territory during this decade, mainly for cost reasons.
"We are also developing Plesetsk," the head of Russia's space agency, Yuri Koptev, told reporters at a space congress in Moscow on Wednesday.