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Kazakhstan to diversify satellite suppliers in future

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Tue Feb 2, 2010 2:01 pm via: RIA Novosti
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ASTANA, (RIA Novosti) – Kazakhstan will not name Russia as a privileged supplier of satellites and will announce international tenders after the launch of its KazSat-2, the head of the Kazakh space agency said on Tuesday.

Kazakhstan launched its first satellite, KazSat-1, in June 2006; however, its control systems failed last June. Astana is set to launch KazSat-2 in December 2010.

“KazSat-2 will be made at the Khrunichev R&D center in Russia under a contract signed in 2006, and over 86% of work to build the satellite has already been performed,” Talgat Musabayev said.

KazSat-1 was to have a lifespan of 12.5 years. It was equipped with 12 active transponders, including four for TV-broadcasting and eight for fixed telephone services.

Musabayev said his agency, Kazcosmos, had taken measures to improve KazSat-2 characteristics and enhance its security and control systems.

He also said a feasibility study had already been developed for the production and launch of KazSat-3.

Astana is also planning to invest $100 million in a project to use Russia’s Zenit booster rocket, Musabayev said. He said the investment would be used to pay for the initial stake, upgrade Zenit and a loan to replenish the company’s floating capital.

“Taking into account the key role Zenit is playing in the maintenance of Baikonur at a time when Russia is moving to its own launch centers and foreign companies are contesting the stake, the issue of Kazakh participation in the commercial use of the Zenit carrier rocket should be settled as soon as possible,” the Kazakh official said.

Russia has the Plesetsk and Kapustin Yar launch centers in the country’s north and south, respectively. It will also start building its new space center, Vostochny, in the country’s Far East in 2011 and should complete it in 2018.

Russia currently uses Kazakhstan’s Baikonur space center, which it has leased since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Moscow planned to use its Svobodny rocket launch site in the Far East as a replacement for Baikonur, which was ditched over financial problems.

Copyright 2010 RIA Novosti. All rights reserved.

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