Hefty sums are allocated for Baiterek project, but results are unclear - Konurov

The head of the People's Party of Kazakhstan faction in Majilis, Aikyn Konurov, urges to decide on a strategy in relation to the cosmodrome, Baikonyr town and development of the domestic space industry. He made the corresponding parliamentary inquiry at the plenary session in Majilis, correspondent reports.

The deputy recalled that soon the 60th anniversary of the first manned flight into space will be marked- the historic event inextricably linked with Kazakhstan’s Baikonur cosmodrome.

"Over the past decades, both this unique facility and the industry as a whole have seen their ups and downs," he said.

At the same time, today in the world there is a powerful revival of interest in the space sector: breakthrough scientific missions are being carried out, bold commercial projects are implemented. "The space economy is experiencing a rebirth, with involvement of both the private sector and a larger number of countries," the deputy said.

He cited examples of the UAE Mars mission, China’s plans to build a private spaceport, New Zealand.

"In Kazakhstan, unfortunately, the vector of movement is exactly opposite. We still maintain the proud status of a space power - largely thanks to Baikonur, and initially had more favorable starting conditions compared to many countries. But development of the space sector is on downward trajectory, gradually fading away. The existing potential has not been revealed yet, does not bring returns to the country, "Aikyn Konurov said.

In his opinion, the individual projects being implemented, into which significant budgetary funds are funneled, do not have a strategic vision, large understandable tasks and unifying ideas.

"For example, the prospects of the Baiterek project are still not clear. The situation is similarly developing around the Baikonur complex and Baikonyr town. The space activity volume is steadily declining there. There is no clear understanding of how the area will develop further," the deputy said.

Meanwhile, various countries, he recalled, are paying close attention to the space industry not because of prestige, but for purely pragmatic reasons, since the space industry gives impetus to a whole layer of high-tech areas: robotics, creation of new materials, nuclear and information technologies, and develops science.

"In Kazakhstan, the number of industries is extremely limited, thanks to which we could qualify for transition to the fifth technological order. The space industry is an excellent opportunity to gain a foothold in the pool of advanced high-tech countries," he said.

In this regard, the deputy asks the Government to decide on a strategy in relation to the cosmodrome, Baikonyr town and development of domestic space industry, provide real prospects for the Baiterek project and other initiatives for the space industry development, including at Baikonur facilities.

Laura Tusupbekova
12:15, 7 April 2021