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Cablegate: Roscosmos On Space Cooperation with Kazakhstan,

VZCZCXRO9883
PP RUEHDBU RUEHLN RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHMO #5292/01 3110655
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 070655Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5082
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHLN/AMCONSUL ST PETERSBURG 4662
RUEHVK/AMCONSUL VLADIVOSTOK 2510
RUEHYG/AMCONSUL YEKATERINBURG 2828

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 005292

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: TSPA TSPL NASA PREL PGOV KZ RS
SUBJECT: ROSCOSMOS ON SPACE COOPERATION WITH KAZAKHSTAN,
AND OTHERS

MOSCOW 00005292 001.2 OF 002


Summary
-------

1. (SBU) Russian officials regard space cooperation with
Kazakhstan as on track, despite reported disputes over
leasing arrangements for the Baikonur cosmodrome and
compensation for damages caused by a recent rocket explosion
at the site. Plans for the construction in the Russian Far
East of a new civilian launch facility for manned-flights are
underway; if realized, the facility would contribute to the
GOR's effort to stimulate development in that region.
Roscosmos representatives stressed to us the need for the
central government to continue to play the leading role in
space activities. They were dismissive of the possibilities
for commercial space travel. End Summary.

"Two Brothers"
-------------

2. (SBU) On October 30, Embassy met with Vyacheslav
Lisitsin, Director of the International Cooperation
Department at Roscosmos. Lisitsin was keen to dismiss claims
that there were serious troubles with Kazakhstan over
Russia's leasing of the Baikonur cosmodrome for space
launches. He emphasized that Russia had developed strong
relations with Kazakhstan and that the two were "essentially
brothers." His statements were consistent with remarks made
in Astana in October by FM Lavrov, who praised
Russian-Kazakhstani cooperation in Baikonur.

3. (SBU) Lisitsin admitted that a few "delicate" problems
exist with Baikonur. He referred to the September 6 rocket
accident in which a Proton-M rocket carrying a Japanese
commercial satellite crashed shortly after lift-off,
scattering debris and hazardous material in the nearby area.
Kazakhstan reportedly seeks about $60 million in damages for
the accident. Lisitsin said that the two governments had
established a commission to study the accident. The incident
risked delaying the late October launch of another rocket
carrying three GLONASS (Global Navigation Satellite System)
satellites.

Space in the Far East
---------------------

4. (SBU) In September, Roscosmos announced plans to build a
new cosmodrome for civilian launches, including manned
flights, in the Russian Far East no earlier than 2020.
Military launches would continue at Plesetsk. Lisitsin told
us that a new launch facility on Russian territory would help
stimulate the economy in the Far Eastern region, providing
jobs and opportunities, especially in the development of
space technologies. A new launch site also would help
develop the means to accomplish Russia's future manned space
missions to the moon and Mars. However, for now, the new
launch site is simply a "political announcement." Lisitsin
did not provide any details on possible locations for the new
site.

Chinese on the ISS?
-------------------

5. (SBU) Following the October International Space Station
(ISS) mission featuring the first Malaysian crew member,
Chinese government officials reportedly expressed interest in
placing a Chinese crew member on board the ISS. When asked
how Russia felt about China's possible participation,
Lisitsin said he knew nothing about it. He and the other
Roscosmos officials at the meeting looked skeptical and made
no comments about what role China might play.

State: The Final Frontier
-------------------------

6. (SBU) Lisitsin stressed to us that no country that is
serious about pursuing a space program can rely primarily on
private industry. The state must play the leading role.
Besides satellite launches, there is little profit to be
found in space, he contended. Lisitsin insisted that the
role of the state is vital for reasons that go beyond just
R&D, including licensing, regulation, and liability of space
projects. He downplayed the possibilities of commercial
space tourism as a viable industry. When we mentioned some
of the latest entrepreneurial initiatives for space travel,
such as sub-orbital commercial flights, Lisitsin and other
Roscosmos officials shrugged.

Comment

MOSCOW 00005292 002.2 OF 002


-------

7. (SBU) Lisitsin's downplaying of space tourism and praise
for the state's central role in space are consistent with the
general tenor of a more self-confident GOR. Lisitsin was
quick to dismiss at anything which harkened back to the image
of a cash-strapped Russia seeking to shore up its underfunded
space program by catering to wealthy space tourists.
BURNS

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