Monday, May 28, 2012 -
Reports are swirling that Kazakhstan is planning to block three future rocket launches by Russia over an ongoing dispute concerning rocket debris, reports said Monday.
Russia plans to launch the rockets from Kazakhstan’s Baikonur space station.
The dispute concerns the dropping of seven satellites over the northern Kazakh region, but Kazakhstan says Russia must sign an additional agreement over the leasing of the space station, the Interfax news agency and the Kommersant paper reported.
“Due to this we are simply unable to carry out not just our own but international obligations,” an unidentified source from the Russian space agency Roscosmos told Kommersant, as reported by the Agence France-Presse (AFP).
It is likely that the new cosmodrome being built by Russia may be contributing to the dispute. Russia has exclusively used Baikonur since the Soviet Union disintegrated in 1991, but is now constructing its own cosmodrome Vostochny located in Russia’s Far East.
Russia had signed a contract to use Baikonur until 2050, paying Kazakhstan $15 million a year. But the Central Asian state is concerned that Russia will now break the lease once its own cosmodrome is up and running.