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Space Science

Kazakhstan Wants Russia To Hand Over Their Baikonur Space City 131

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the borat-goes-to-mars dept.
Hugh Pickens writes writes "RIA Novosti reports that Kazakhstan and Russia are in talks over returning the city of Baikonur to Kazakhstan — the site of the first Soviet rocket launches and Russia's most important space launch center. Baikonur, built in Kazakhstan in the 1950s, is the main launch facility for the current generation of Russian rockets and was leased by Russia from Kazakhstan under an agreement signed in 1994 after the collapse of the Soviet Union. 'Today both nations' governments have decided to set up a new intergovernmental commission for the Baikonur complex to be headed up by first or other deputy prime ministers,' said Talgat Musabayev, head of Kazakhstan's space agency. At issue is control over Baikonur and the rent Russia pays Kazakhstan to use the facility, a subject of ongoing dispute between the two nations ever since Kazakhstan gained independence from the USSR. Earlier this year, Kazakhstan blocked Russia from launching several rockets from Baikonur in a dispute over a drop zone for debris and Kazakhstan insisted this must be covered by a supplement to the main rental agreement signed in Astana in 2004, extending Russia's use of the space center's facilities until 2050. Russia pays an annual fee of approximately $115 million to use the space center, which currently has the world's busiest launch schedule, as well as $50 million annually for maintenance. Russia and Kazakhstan are working to build a new space launch facility at Baikonur, called Baiterek, to launch Angara carrier rockets capable of delivering 26 metric tons of payload to low-Earth orbits but Russia intends to eventually withdraw from Baikonur and conduct launches from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome, an operating spaceport about 500 miles north of Moscow — and the unfinished Vostochny Cosmodrome in the Russian Far East."
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Kazakhstan Wants Russia To Hand Over Their Baikonur Space City

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  • Too far north. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bmo (77928) on Tuesday December 11, 2012 @08:47AM (#42249902)

    "Russia intends to eventually withdraw from Baikonur and conduct launches from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome, an operating spaceport about 500 miles north of Moscow â" and the unfinished Vostochny Cosmodrome in the Russian Far East."

    200 miles south of Arkhangelsk? Really?

    As one moves further north, one loses the assist from the Earth's rotation. Launch anything easterly from the Equator, and you get slightly more than a 1,000 mile per hour boost to orbit. If you want to save fuel and cost, you try to launch from as far south as you can, which is why we launch from Florida instead of Cape Cod.

    (24902 * cos(63))/24

    24902=Circumference of the Earth
    63=Latitude of the Plestsk Cosmodrome in degrees
    24=Hours in a day.

    471mph/758kph - it's the worst out of all of them.

    Vostochny Cosmodrome is 51 degrees N. 653mph/1051kph

    Baikonur is roughly 46 degrees North - 720mph/1160kph

    Canaveral is 28.5 (roughly) - 912mph/1468kph

    Centre Spatial Guyanais - 5 degrees N. 1034mph 1664kph - the ESA gets the biggest boost.

    Unfortunately for the Russians, they don't have anything very far south. The furthest south they can go is the southern end of Dagestan at roughly the same latitude as New York City.

    --
    BMO

  • Re:Too far north. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by vbraga (228124) on Tuesday December 11, 2012 @08:59AM (#42249972) Journal

    Does launch latitude matters for polar orbits?

  • Re:Too far north. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ikaruga (2725453) on Tuesday December 11, 2012 @09:16AM (#42250088)
    The furthest south they can go is the southern end of Dagestan at roughly the same latitude as New York City.
    Yes, but interesting enough, Kazakhstan's most southern point is about the same as Russia's. There is really no reason to use Kazakhstan other than "saving money" instead of building a new lauch center.
  • Job Creators (Score:2, Interesting)

    by tekrat (242117) on Tuesday December 11, 2012 @09:22AM (#42250132) Homepage Journal

    All Russia has to do is threaten to move the facility. The space center is probably the area's only source of jobs. Russian just has to pretend he's Pappa John Pizza-man, and start firing people who are local because of the "onerous healthcare taxes" or something that Cossak-Stan is asking for.

    Geeze. We need to get Fox News in Russia. Those guys are not corrupt enough.

  • Re:Too far north. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Tuesday December 11, 2012 @09:27AM (#42250192)

    Does launch latitude matters for polar orbits?

    Short answer, "Yes." Long answer; It's 8am and I haven't had my morning coffee. I don't discuss orbital mechanics before caffination. But I'm sure someone else will in a few hours, once the East coast has finished wasting time on all the other websites we go to in order to avoid working and come here...

  • AC doesn't get it (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) on Tuesday December 11, 2012 @10:27AM (#42250713)

    Didnt Georgia invade the independent countries Ossetia and Abkhazia first, so Russians had to come and protect Ossetia's and Abkhazias sovereignty, after recognizing their independence a few hours before?

    As the US and other western countries demonstrated with Kosovo, recognizing some random regions independence from one of your geopolitical foes and then marching in to protect the newly granted independence is a valid practice according to international law.

    Ossetia and Abkhazia have always been part of Georgia, but in the days of the USSR, it didn't matter who they belonged to as long as they were in the USSR. With independence, the regions are majority ethnic Russian and they didn't like being joined to an ethnic group (Georgian) who they regard as being something equivalent to rednecks or hillbillies in the USA. So they kicked all the ethnic Georgians out or killed them and proclaimed independence. Being on the border with Russia, Russia sent troops in officially as "peacekeepers" but in reality to prevent a weak Georgian military from re-taking them. But they belong to Georgia. Recognizing their independence is just a sham to justify the illegal action of basically stealing the territories from Georgia.

    Kosovo is somewhat different in that genocidal warfare basically made many countries argue for independence as the only way to protect the citizens. There's nothing really analogous to this in Georgia as in Ossetia and Abkhazia they kicked out the non-Russians and the Russians were never in any real danger to begin with, although they like to claim that they were to justify kicking out the Georgians.

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