Russia, Kazakhstan spar over space launch padTHE Associated Press | January 26,2013MOSCOW — Russia stepped up efforts Friday to resolve a dispute with neighbor Kazakhstan over its demand to reduce the number of commercial satellite launches from the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome.
Kazakhstan, which in the past suspended Russian rocket launches after previous failures spilled toxic rocket fuel, has demanded that Russia cuts the number of Proton rockets lifting off from Baikonur from 17 to 12 this year.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov downplayed the dispute after talks in Moscow with his Kazakh counterpart Friday.
“The issue regarding the number of launches is linked to Kazakhstan’s concerns about their impact on environment,” Lavrov said. “Russia is taking all the necessary steps to address environmental aspects by using improved Proton-M booster rockets. There is no sensation about it, just working issues.”
The dispute has threatened to cloud relations between the two ex-Soviet neighbors. Moscow would lose half a billion dollars if Kazakhstan succeeds in cutting the number of launches, according to Russia’s pro-government daily Izvestia, which reported the Kazakh demand. The paper also said Moscow was threatening Kazakhstan with countermeasures.
Izvestia on Thursday quoted a note from Russia’s Roscosmos space agency warning that the country would opt out of joint projects with Kazakhstan if it doesn’t withdraw its demand for Russia to scale down its scheduled rocket launches from Baikonur.
Russia has a lease to use Kazakhstan’s Soviet-built launch pad until 2050 and pays an annual fee of $115 million. It has continued to rely on Baikonur for all its manned missions and most of its commercial satellite launches.
This isn’t the first time Kazakh authorities have voiced worries over the environmental impact of Russia’s space program. Previously, they have briefly suspended Russian launches from Baikonur following the spill of highly toxic rocket fuel after failed launches of the heavylift Proton booster rocket, the main cash cow of Russia’s space program.
Moscow also has the Plesetsk launch pad in the north of Russia but that is used mostly for launches of military satellites. It has moved to reduce its dependence on Kazakhstan by building a new cosmodrome in the far east.MORE IN Wire NewsPIONKI, Poland — Everybody in Poland seems to be against them now: temporary contracts that offer... Full StoryROME — Pope Francis has declared a Jubilee Year for Rome, and the first of as many as 30 million... Full StoryCINCINNATI — A University of Cincinnati officer who shot a motorist during a traffic stop over a... Full Story
- Most Popular
- Most Emailed
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day 1739, 'Richard Palmer' identified in prison at York Castle as the notorious outlaw DICK TURPIN; IN 1836, Battle of the Alamo begins near San Antonio de Bexar, Texas; 1896, the Tootsie Roll invented by LEO HIRSCHFELD.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1472, Orkney, Shetland islands put up as collateral by Norway to Scotland in lieu of dowry for MARGARET OF DENMARK on her marriage with JAMES III, king of Scotland; 1962, JOHN GLENN first American to orbit Earth.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: City mayoral candidates debate campaign issues; Hartford, Conn., woman still missing; Neal Goswami reports attempts to legislate suicide; local woman loses 100 pounds through TOPS program.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1878, JOHN TUNSTALL murdered near Lincoln, New Mexico, by the outlaw JESSE EVANS; in 1930, ELM FARM OLLIE first cow to fly in aircraft, first to be milked airborne; 1955, nuke test WASP; '79, snow in Sahara.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Rutland Herald News Editor Alan J. Keays and staff writer Gordon Dritschilo discuss stories planned for the February 18, 2015, edition of the newspaper: Winter budgets maxed, legal marijuana, Springfield bank job, USPS slowdown
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1249 AD, ANDRE of LONGJUMEAU is dispatched by LOUIS IX of France to meet the KHAGAN, ruler of the Mongol Empire; in 1804, during 1st Barbary War, STEPHEN DECATUR scuttles the pirate-held USS Philadelphia in Tripoli.