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Russia, Kazakhstan, and UAE To Proceed With Modernization Of Gagarin’s Start Launch Facility At Baikonur

A Soyuz MS-09 launch vehicle lifts off to the International Space Station (ISS) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. Photograph courtesy of Reuters.

Russia, Kazakhstan, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are set to proceed with a trilateral agreement to modernise the ‘Gagarin’s Start’ launch complex at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, according to a 16 January 2020 report in Azerbaijan’s Trend News Agency citing Russian and Kazakh sources.

The trilateral agreement is expected to be signed in the coming months, upon which the modernisation work will begin at the site.

“The modernization of the ‘Gagarin’s Start’ launch site at Baikonur Cosmodrome is planned for 2020,” an official from the Kazakh Aerospace Committee of the Ministry of Digital Development, Defence and Aerospace Industry told the Trend News Agency.

The trilateral agreement follows months of preparatory work that saw Russia, Kazakhstan, and the UAE sign a letter of intent in September 2018, and the formation of a consortium in June 2019 that includes the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), UAE investors, and GlavKosmos Launch Services, a subsidiary of the Russian state space corporation Roscosmos, that has raised U.S.$87 million to invest in the ‘Gagarin’s Start’ launch complex modernisation programme at Baikonur Cosmodrome.

The modernisation of the ‘Gagarin’s Start’ launch complex will enable the continued launch of Soyuz-2 launch vehicles and help ensure the continued competitiveness of the Russian and Kazakh space sectors in the provision of global commercial launch services.

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