Kazakhstan’s way to space: realities and prospects

ASTANA – The international forum “Kazakhstan’s Way to Space: Realities and Prospects-2017,” held Oct. 19 in the capital, commemorated 60 years since the launch of the first artificial Earth satellite.

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Organised by the Ministry of Defence and Aerospace Industry, the forum’s goals included exchanging best practices to use space activity results in solving economic problems, reviewing those results for the past decade and discussing the industry’s development prospects.

In his keynote address, Defence and Aerospace Industry Deputy Minister Marat Nurguzhin spoke about domestic space industry development. He noted one branch of the industry’s activities involves developing and expanding Kazakhstan’s use of the spacecraft orbital constellation.

“Regular replacement of satellites is being undertaken. We plan to create and launch the KazSat-2P satellite by 2023 to guarantee the scheduled replacement of the KazSat-2 satellite,” he said.

Nurguzhin later shared some details of the work of the Baiterek Rocket and Space Complex, which will be completed at Baikonur Spaceport and which is currently a joint venture between Kazakhstan and Russia. The preliminary project will be designed by November and the project itself will be completed by September 2018, he said.

“The cost of the project has yet to be determined. As for today, we estimate the cost to be around US$280 million-US$310 million. This is the cost of the ground infrastructure only,” he added.

The figures represent Kazakhstan’s investments, as the nation will be responsible for the ground infrastructure. Russia will provide the funding to develop a carrier rocket as well as enhance the piloting process of a transport ship.

Baiterek is not a project restricted to Kazakhstan and Russia, said Ministry of Defense and Aerospace Industry aerospace committee chair Yerkin Shaimagambetov.

“We are considering both Russian and European proposals on cooperation. Airbus and Thales Alenia Space are among our partner companies,” he added.

The existing Zenit rocket complex, located within Baikonur Spaceport, will be used to implement the Baiterek project. Russia will withdraw the facilities from the lease and transfer them to the Kazakh side. Kazakhstan, in turn, will transfer Zenit to the Baiterek enterprise, which will manage the operation and future modernisation of the complex, said Shaimagambetov.