MOSCOW, October 29 (RIA Novosti) - Construction of a space complex at the Baikonur space center and the Glonass system open new avenues for joint space projects between Russia and Kazakhstan, the Russian foreign minister said Monday.
Sergei Lavrov told the Kazakhstanskaya Pravda newspaper on the eve of his visit to Astana that joint efforts at Baikonur, which Russia leases from Kazakhstan, is one of the most productive achievements in the two countries' bilateral cooperation.
Russia and Kazakhstan are developing successful projects in the space industry. Baikonur, built in Kazakhstan in the 1950s, was first leased from Kazakhstan under an agreement signed in 1994 after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The countries' experts collaborated in the manufacture of the KazSat, a Kazakh telecommunication satellite launched last June.
The two are also working to build a space complex at Baikonur, Baiterek, for the launches of Angara carrier vehicles capable of delivering 26 metric tons of payload into low-Earth orbits. The project is being implemented on a parity basis and enjoys tax, customs and other privileges.
Lavrov said both countries are interested in Baikonur, adding that trade turnover would exceed $13 billion in 2007.
"The volume of our trade turnover is constantly increasing. In 2006 it reached $13 billion. This year, the figure could be considerably higher," he told the Kazakhstanskaya Pravda.
Glonass (Global Navigation Satellite System) is a Russian equivalent of the U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS), which is designed for both military and civilian use, and allows users to identify their positions in real time.
A total of 9.88 billion rubles ($380 million) was allocated for Glonass from the federal budget in 2007, and 4.7 billion ($181 million) in 2006.