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Kazakhstan Seeks Equal Share In Commercial Space Projects
by Staff Writers
Astana, Kazakhstan (RIA Novosti) Apr 12, 2010

File image of a payload being transported to a Dnepr launch vehicle.

Kazakhstan intends to acquire 33% stakes in two Russian-Ukrainian joint ventures using the Baikonur space center for launches of Dnepr and Zenit carrier rockets, the country's top space official said Friday.

The head of Kazakh space agency Kazcosmos, Talgat Musabayev, told a session of parliament that the issue of Kazakhstan's equal participation in commercial space projects must be resolved as soon as possible to prevent the country being pushed from lucrative space launch markets by foreign competitors.

"This political issue was discussed on Wednesday by [Ukrainian President Viktor] Yanukovych and [Kazakh President Nursultan] Nazarbayev, and we will make sure that we have an equal 33% share in these projects with Russia and Ukraine," Musabayev said.

Russian-Ukrainian joint venture Kosmotras converts RS-20 (SS-18 Satan) ICBMs, scrapped by Russia's Strategic Missile Forces, into Dnepr carrier rockets and prepares them for space launches from Baikonur.

"We have made the first steps to participate in this joint venture and bought 10% of the shares. We will continue to increase our share until we achieve parity in ownership," Musabayev said.

He said Astana planned to "take the same steps to join another Russian-Ukrainian company, which operates the launches of the Zenit carrier rocket."

Space International Services provides mission integration and launch operations for the Land Launch project, which operates two-stage Zenit-2SLB and three-stage Zenit-3SLB rockets from the Baikonur space center.

Land Launch was developed by the Sea Launch consortium, which was established in 1995 and is owned by Boeing, RSC-Energia, Norway's Kvaerner ASA, Ukraine's Yuzhnoye design bureau and Yuzhmash production association.

RSC-Energia and Yuzhnoye/Yuzhmash are part-owners of Space International Services, along with the Moscow-based Design Bureau for Transport Machinery and Center for Ground-Based Space Infrastructure.

"The Zenit already exists...we simply have to use our brains, apply political will, be persistent and make investments to join this project. Nothing is for free these days," Musabayev said, adding that Kazakhstan would have to invest at least $100 million to become part of this project.

Source: RIA Novosti


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