Russia, Kazakhstan to Begin Reconstruction of Zenit Launch Pad in Baikonur, Roscosmos Says

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MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Russia and Kazakhstan will begin the reconstruction of the launch complex of the Zenit carrier rocket at Baikonur for the new Russian Soyuz-5 vehicle in mid-October, Roscosmos reported.

“In talks between the head of Roscosmos Dmitry Rogozin and the Minister of Digital Development, Innovation and Aerospace Industry of Kazakhstan Bagdat Musin held in videoconference format, the parties set a deadline for completing the preparation of a contract between the Baiterek joint venture and TsENKI [Center for Operation of Space Ground-Based Infrastructure ] – October 16,” the space agency said in a post on Twitter.

After that date, TsENKI will begin working on the ground in cooperation with the Kazakh construction venture to restore the launch complex the long-abandoned site.

The complex was specially built in the Soviet era for the Ukraine-produced Zenit launch vehicles. It was destroyed during a failed launch in 1990 and never reconstructed following the collapse of the USSR.

This reconstruction project seeks to refurbish the area and prepare it for use of test launches of the Soyuz-5 rocket launchers in 2023-2025. The Soyuz-5 is designed to replace the current Soyuz-2 class launchers.

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