Kazakhstan mulls ending Russia's cosmodrome leaseDecember 9, 2012 @ 10:24 pm
ALMATY, Kazakhstan (AP) - The head of Kazakhstan's space agency says Russia's lease of a launch facility in the Central Asian nation could be suspended.
Interfax-Kazakhstan news agency cited Kazcosmos head Talgat Musabayev as telling Parliament on Monday that proposals are being considered to bring the facility under Kazakhstan's jurisdiction.
Russia pays Kazakhstan $115 million annually for use of the Soviet-built Baikonur in a deal expiring in 2050.
Baikonur is the only launch site worldwide currently being used to get astronauts to the International Space Station. A three-man crew from the United States, Russia and Canada is due to leave for the space station next week.
Observers worry that the transfer of Baikonur to Kazakhstan could lead to an exodus of specialists from the town, worsening the shortage of expertise in Russia's space program.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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