Kazakhstan blocking Russian satellite launch

Russia is hoping to launch three new satellites into space, but Kazakhstan has blocked the launches due to disputes over the drop zone for the rocket debris. The debris would fall in the northern region of Kazakhstan, with the country believing that Russia should sign a new leasing agreement if the debris zone is to be used. That's left Russia in somewhat of a difficult position.

Kazakhstan is also home to Russia's Baikonur cosmodrome, which is used for the country's space program and used for international obligations too. As a result, Russia is unable to carry out its commitments until the issue is resolved: "Due to this we are simply unable to carry out not just our own but international obligations."

Is the matter really about where debris lands? According to Kommersant, Kazakhstan could be wary of Russia not signing a new lease agreement due to the construction of a new cosmodrome in Russia's Far East territory. That would potentially lead to less reliance on the current facility, with Kazakhstan potentially losing out on $115 million per year. The current lease is set to expire in 2050.

[via PhysOrg]