Sunday, April 20, 2014


Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan Reportedly Blocks Russian Satellite Launches

A Soyuz rocket blasts off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome (file photo)A Soyuz rocket blasts off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome (file photo)
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A Soyuz rocket blasts off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome (file photo)
A Soyuz rocket blasts off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome (file photo)

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Hundreds of carcasses of the critically endangered saiga antelope were found this week in northern Kazakhstan, prompting suggestions that the animals may have been poisoned by chemicals left behind by Russian spacecraft. Authorities and scientists, however, remain cautious.
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Kazakhstan is reportedly blocking upcoming Russian satellite launches because of a dispute with Russian space authorities over the drop zone for rocket debris.

Unnamed officials spoke about the dispute with Russia's "Kommersant" daily and Interfax news agency.

No public confirmation was available.

The dispute reportedly concerns plans for debris from Russian Soyuz rockets -- which carry satellites into orbit -- to fall to Earth in the northern Qostanai region after launch from the Baikonur space center.

Reports say Kazakhstan wants the drop zone included in an amendment to Astana's current launch-leasing accord with Moscow.

Qostanai is the same region where nearly 1,000 rare saiga antelopes were recently found dead following the landing of a Russian spacecraft there in April.

No scientific link between the spacecraft and the dead saiga has been announced.

Based on reporting by AFP and Interfax
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