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Baikonur cosmodrome
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The Russian military will withdraw from the Baikonur space centre in Kazkahstan, next year.

But Russia will continue to use Baikonur for civilian satellite launches and manned missions to the International Space Station. Military satellite and rocket tests are to be moved to Plesetsk in northern Russia.

"The last military units will leave the Baikonur cosmodrome at the end of 2007" - agency chief Anatoly Perminov.

The Baikonur cosmodrome, in the central Asian state, is one of only three space bases capable of launching manned missions. The others being Cape Canaveral in the United States and the Jiuquan Space Centre in China.

Since 1991, Russia's main launching station was located in the independent republic of Kazkahstan.
In 1994, Russia agreed to rent the site from Kazakhstan for 91 million euros annually, and this lease will continue until 2050 under the terms of a new agreement signed in 2004 by President Vladimir Putin and his Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev.
Several sites at Baikonur cosmodrome would remain under Russian space agency management for manned missions to the International Space Station and to launch civilian commercial satellites.
The Russian space agency is a non-military body.

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RE: Baikonur lease
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Zoom satellite view of the Proton LC200 launch pad.


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Baikonur
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RE: Baikonur Cosmodrome
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Russia's main space station, the Baikonur Cosmodrome, celebrates its 50th anniversary today.
The first orbiting Earth satellite and the first man in space took off from the centre, which is located in the steppes of neighbouring Kazakhstan.
The Russian President, Vladimir Putin and his Kazakh counterpart, Nursultan Nazarbayev, are to visit the site to take part in anniversary celebrations.
Baikonur is the world's oldest space-launching facility.



The Baikonur complex lies near the Aral Sea, deep in the arid wastes of the vast Kazakh steppe.
This remote, top-secret site was chosen in 1955 to be the nerve centre for the former Soviet Union's space programme.
The original Kazakh town of Baikonur it is named after in fact lies 400km to the north-east. That was a Soviet ruse to confuse anyone looking for the cosmodrome's location.
The space centre notched an impressive string of firsts in its early years. The first satellite to orbit the Earth, Sputnik 1, was launched from there in 1957.
Four years later, Yuri Gagarin blasted off to become the first man in space. Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova, the first woman in space and the first person to walk in space also took off from Baikonur.
When the USSR collapsed, many people thought it would mean the end for the cosmodrome too.
But independent Kazakhstan agreed to lease the site to Russia. That lease now extends until 2050.
Moscow has been developing another space centre, Plesetsk in the Russian far north. But its location makes it unfit for most commercial launches. Baikonur's facilities are now in regular demand for commercial satellite launches and to supply the international space station now orbiting the Earth.
Kazakhstan also has plans to launch its own satellites from the complex and Russia and Kazakhstan together are developing a more environmentally-friendly launch facility.
Kazakhstan wants to reduce the pollution from rocket fuel and debris which often falls on its territory.
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Russia's lower house of parliament, the State Duma, ratified Wednesday an agreement between Russia and Kazakhstan on further cooperation in effective use of the Baikonur launching site ,Kazakhstan, till 2050.
The agreement was backed by all the 403 parliamentarians present, with 226 votes required (Duma has 450 seats in all).



Among other things, the document envisages development and construction of a promising environmentally friendly space missile complex Baiterek at Baikonur, based on Russia's Angara complex.
The Kazakh side will cover the expenses on the ground-based space infrastructure facilities.
According to Andrei Kokoshin, the head of the Duma committee for the CIS affairs and ties with compatriots, under the 1994 Baikonur lease contract, Russia and Kazakhstan agreed on the lease for 20 years to be later extended by 10 years.
Russia pays a total of $115 million a year. This money is allocated annually by the federal budget.
Baikonur remains the key link in Russia's and CIS space programs, in Russia's international obligations on the ISS and provision for its operation," said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov presenting the agreement to the parliamentarians.
According to Lavrov, over 70% of all Russian spacecraft are launched from Baikonur.

Once implemented, the agreement will "help continue effective use of Baikonur in commercial space projects and make it possible to use the means invested in technological and launching complexes in the best way, and guarantee stability to investors, including foreign."
Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev invited Vladimir Putin to visit Baikonur on June 2 as part of the 50th anniversary of the launching site, said Lavrov.



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