11 Mar 2022 11:49

Kazakh district, where LV stages fall, not to get over $600,000 after refusal to launch OneWeb satellites from Baikonur

NUR-SULTAN. March 11 (Interfax) - Following the refusal to launch OneWeb satellites from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, payments of $610,000 will not be made to the Zhangeldi district in Kazakhstan's Kostanay region where the launch vehicle's (LV) stages were supposed to fall, Kazakh Deputy Minister of Digital Development, Innovations and Aerospace Industry Malik Olzhabekov said.

"If the Russian side does not conduct these six launches [of rockets carrying OneWeb satellites] scheduled for 2022, the administration of the Zhangeldi district of the Kostanay region will not receive $460,000 for three launches and $150,000 for three additional launches. In total, the regional administration will not receive $610,000 this year," Olzhabekov told Interfax.

Under the Kazakh-Russian agreement on cooperation in conducting launches of Soyuz 2-type LVs with satellites from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, a land plot in the Zhangeldi district is used as the designated place where rocket stages fall during such launches, he said.

"The use of the impact area costs $460,000 per year, and if the intensity of launches increases (more than three such launches per year), an additional payment of $50,000 is charged for each extra launch. Under the agreement, this money is transferred to the administration of the Zhangeldi district to tackle the region's social issues," he said.

On March 2, Roscosmos CEO Dmitry Rogozin said that Roscosmos could cancel the launch of the OneWeb company's satellites from Baikonur, scheduled for March 5, if it did not receive guarantees that they would not be used for military purposes.

The OneWeb company said the following day that it was suspending the launches of its satellites from the Baikonur Cosmodrome.

The United States and the European Union announced sanctions against the Russian space sector on February 24. In response to the sanctions imposed by the EU, Rogozin said that Russia was halting Soyuz rocket launches from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou and withdrawing its personnel from there.

The refusal to launch OneWeb satellites will not cause any serious economic damage to Roscosmos, the state space corporation said, adding that OneWeb satellites will remain at the Baikonur Cosmodrome until the situation around the cancellation of the launch is resolved.

According to Roscosmos, OneWeb satellites are manufactured by the OneWeb Satellites company, which is 50% owned by Airbus Defense and Space and 50% by the OneWeb company, at an enterprise in the State of Florida, U.S.