Kazakhstan blocks Russian satellite launches: reports

May 28, 2012
Russian police officers guard the Soyuz TMA-22 rocket of the International Space Station (ISS) Expedition 30 during its transportation to a launch pad in the Russian-leased Kazakh Baikonur cosmodrome in 2011. Kazakhstan, which hosts Russia's Baikonur cosmodrome, is blocking three upcoming Russian satellite launches because of a dispute over the drop zone for rocket debris.

Kazakhstan, which hosts Russia's Baikonur cosmodrome, is blocking three upcoming Russian satellite launches because of a dispute over the drop zone for rocket debris, reports said on Monday.

The first stages of the Soyuz rockets that were scheduled to launch a total of seven satellites were due to fall down over a region of north Kazakhstan that is only occasionally used as a drop zone for debris.

Kazakhstan argues that in order for the zone to be used the two sides must sign an additional agreement to the leasing accord it has with Russia, the Kommersant daily and Interfax news agency reported.

"Due to this we are simply unable to carry out not just our own but international obligations," a source in the Roscosmos told Kommersant.

The launches that are set to be shelved or already postponed are the launch of European meterorological satellite MetOp-B that had been due May 23, the launch of Belarussian, Canadian, German and two Russian satellites on June 7 and the launch of Resurs-P in August.

It is not clear how and when the seven satellites will now be launched.

There is no suggestion however that the dispute will affect manned launches from Baikonur which also use a but whose debris usually falls in a different zone.

Kommersant said one possible reason for the dispute is Russia's building of a new cosmodrome Vostochny in its own Far East territory which when completed will provide an alternative launch site to Baikonur.

It said Kazakhstan fears that the new cosmodrome will encourage Russia to break the lease agreement on Baikonur, which is due to last until 2050 and sees Moscow pay Astana almost $115 million in rent annually.

Baikonur was the historic Soviet cosmodrome from where made the first in 1961. Moscow kept control of the facility under an agreement with Kazakhstan after the collapse of the USSR.

Explore further: Russia to stay at Baikonur until 2020

Related Stories

Russia launches US satellite into space

April 24, 2010

A Russian Proton rocket carrying a US AMC 49 telecommunications satellite was launched into orbit on Saturday, the Russian space agency said on its website.

Putin visits site of Russia's new launch center

August 28, 2010

(AP) -- Russia will launch its manned space missions from a new center in the Far East in 2018, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Saturday, as the country seeks greater independence for its space program.

Russia launches US satellites in third attempt

July 13, 2011

A Russian Soyuz rocket successfully carried six US Globalstar satellites into orbit on Wednesday after postponing the launch twice earlier this week, Russia's space agency said.

Russia delays commercial space launches after crash

September 13, 2011

Russia will have to delay the upcoming launch of six US satellites and two commercial European craft due to last month's Soyuz carrier rocket mishap, Russian industry sources said Tuesday.

Russia launches navigation satellites

November 4, 2011

Russia on Friday successfully launched three satellites for its global navigation system Glonass on a Proton-M rocket from its Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the Russian space agency said.

Recommended for you

Blue skies, frozen water detected on Pluto

October 8, 2015

Pluto has blue skies and patches of frozen water, according to the latest data out Thursday from NASA's unmanned New Horizons probe, which made a historic flyby of the dwarf planet in July.

Orbiter views Mars surface fractures

October 8, 2015

The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter often takes images of Martian sand dunes to study the mobile soils. These images provide information about erosion and ...

How to prepare for Mars? NASA consults Navy sub force

October 5, 2015

As NASA contemplates a manned voyage to Mars and the effects missions deeper into space could have on astronauts, it's tapping research from another outfit with experience sending people to the deep: the U.S. Navy submarine ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.