Kazakhstan seizes Russian launch assets
March 15, 2023
By Chris Forrester
The Kazakhstan authorities have seized the property of the main operator of the Russian spaceport at Baikonur which trades as the Center for the Operation of Ground-Based Space Infrastructure (TsENKI), itself a subsidiary of Russia’s Roscosmos space agency.
A formal reason is a debt of 2 billion Russian roubles (€24.7m), and the report says that the country’s Court bailiff service is pursuing the debt.
The report comes from a story in local Kazakh media, KZ24.
Russia has an alternate launch facility at Vostochny, in its Far East region of Amur.
Relations between Kazakhstan itself have been strained lately. The Baikonur site is a massive 90 kms-wide circle of territory well within Kazakhstan’s borders and leased by Russia. It was originally built for Russia’s Sputnik programme and subsequently the home of major Russian ICBM silos.
Yuri Gagarin, the world’s first man in space, was based at Baikonur and lived in a modest cottage (now preserved as a museum) at the base.
More recently, Roscosmos Baikonur has launched satellites for OneWeb (and has confiscated one batch of OneWeb satellites), and the International Launch Services’ Proton rockets have lofted dozens of rockets for Western businesses.