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Interview of E.M. Nurgaliyev, Deputy Chairman, ACC MID, RK to Kazakhstanskaya Pravda newspaper

Aydin Aimbetov’s flight to the orbit has increased the interest of Kazakhstan’s inhabitants tremendously to space exploration. Today, the guest of online edition of Kazpravda.kz is Deputy Chairman of the Aerospace Committee of the Ministry of Investment and Development (Kazkosmos). Ergazy Nurgaliyev, will provide detailed answers to all our questions.  

- Could you please tell about achievements of Kazkosmos? Please state more significant ones

- Space exploration and space research are one of the main directions of scientific and technological progress in the modern world.

It's no secret that the development of space activities can significantly determine the political image of any modern state, its economic, scientific-technical and defense power.

At the same time we need to understand that the space is not all about national prestige but also advanced technology, the basis of the competitiveness of Kazakhstan's economy and security, the terms of the success of our Republic, Kazakhstan's path to the pool of highly developed countries.

President Nursultan Nazarbayev, in 2007, set a goal to create modern and self-sufficient space industry in Kazakhstan, and decided to form Kazkosmos as an independent state control body for space activities.

The decision of the Leader of State has given the expected results - in 8 years Kazakhstan has taken as long distance in the development activities as it would have taken other counties several decades. Now we can see the following results:

1. Organized under a unified beginning of the available space infrastructure of the Country, established companies in all strategic directions of development of space activities.

2. Formed qualified scientific and engineering personnel space of the industry, staffed an Engineering and Design Office of Space Technology (EDO ST) and carried out the transfer of space technologies by providing internship to Kazakh engineers at the operational facilities of the leading foreign aerospace companies. Organized training of specialists in space technology at the leading universities of near abroad and far abroad, as well as in Kazakhstan.

KazSat-3"- a commercial geostationary telecommunications satellite.

3. Built, launched, and successfully commissioned two Kazakhstan’s constellations: a constellation of two satellite communication Kazsat-2, "Kazsat -3" and the constellation of two satellites of remote sensing (RS) KazEOSat- 1 and KazEOSat-2.

4. Completed construction and commissioned three independent ground-based space systems - Kazsat Telecommunication systems and remote sensing, as well as high-accuracy satellite navigation system (HSNS). Completing the manufacturing of processing equipment and construction of buildings of engineering and design bureau and of space technology with test prouction and Assembly and Test complex of Spacecraft (ATC).

5. Organized and have running National Center for Space Research and Technology JSC, combining three research institutes, staffed by well-known scientists in the World. Along with the further development of traditional research areas in astrophysics, Earth ionosphere and ERS Center has been successfully performing applied research in a new direction - it is the development of domestic species of space equipment and technologies.

Developed prototypes of components for SC and particular hardware and software, designed to bring products and services of space systems to end-users from various sectors of the Kazakh economy. Arranged manufacturing of differential stations (DS) for satellite navigation and fabricated pilot batch of DS.
6. Organized and running Research Center Garysh-Ecologiya, which performs environmental monitoring the impact of rocket launches from Baikonur launch base, to the environment and the health of the population living in the areas of influence of the launch base activities. In addition to stationary laboratories in Almaty, Baikonur and Zhezkazgan, mobile laboratories have started functioning in areas separating from parts of rockets.

7. Established an international cooperation in the exploration and using space for peaceful purposes with the leading space powers, including Russia, Ukraine, France, Germany, China, India, Great Britain, Israel, the Netherlands, Sweden, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Canada.
8. Developed and adopted the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan - About Space.

Currently, working to further developing the legal framework of space industry.

Designed and submitted to the Parliament a draft law – Revisions and Updates to the above-mentioned law of the Republic of Kazakhstan in terms of creating the conditions and legal mechanisms to facilitate the effecient use of space systems and services to meet the needs of the domestic economy.

9. Undertaking a project of building Baiterek space rocket complex, the Kazakh-Russian project is of strategic importance for Kazakhstan, since it must ensure the preservation and further development of the complex "Baikonur".

There has been made a huge step in the Country in development of high-tech and science-based sectors of the economy due to the expansion of space activities.

Also, Kazakhstan faces an equally important goal - to ensure the efficient use of the up-to-date space infrastructure to meet the challenges of the economy of the Country, to meet its growing demand for products and services of the space systems.

I hope that all these achievements will develop grater interest in Kazakhstan's space activities, and will be the terms for the accession of Kazakhstan to the club of developed countries in the World of space together with its main strategic partners.

- What about the practical issues of Aydin Aimbetov’ s  scientific program in space? What are the results?

- Aydin Aimbetov, the third Kazakh astronaut completed all the practical issues of the fifth scientific program of the Republic of Kazakhstan during the recent flight to the ISS.

Nursultan Nazarbayev and Kazakhatan’s third astronaut - Aydin Aimbetov.

It should be noted that this program was developed by the National Center for Space Research and Technology of Kazkosmos and is a continuation of research programs of space research and experiments performed by astronauts Tokhtar Aubakirov on board of the orbital station MIR in 1991 and Talgat Musabayev on the orbital complexes MIR and ISS in 1994, 1998 and 2001.

Aydin Aimbetov’s program has consisted of 4 sections: natural resources and geophysical monitoring; physical and technical research; space biomedicine and space biotechnology; popularization of achievements of manned space flight, which included: pre-flight research, performance of space experiments at the ISS, the post-flight analysis of the results and their use for the development of space industry in Kazakhstan and world space.

Within the Natural resource and geophysical monitoring, surveys have been conducted for the bottom of Aral Sea, salinity areas of the continental region and assessment of the impact of the negative impact on the environment of surrounding states (plow lands, glaciers, etc.) and public health; oil spills in the fields of the continental Caspian basin (Kalamkas, Karazhanbas, Prorva), pipelines, sulfur piles, oil flares; the state of the glaciers of Kazakhstan to study the effects of warming of regional climate.
There have also been performed spectral surveys of the upper atmosphere in the UV - visible and near-infrared range of the predetermined regions. The results allow developing recommendations on the conditions of flight of the spacecraft over the regions with thunderstorm activity for the aerospace industry.

Physical and technical research section obtained Coulomb crystals in microgravity and the properties will be studied further. Applied use of the results of the experiment related to microelectronics, especially to the removal of undesirable dust when manufacturing of microcircuits, designing and synthesis of nanocrystals, development of new high-efficiency power sources, including spacecraft, and generating electric nuclear batteries and lasers.

Currently, this work is performed at the National Nanotechnology Laboratory of Al-Farabi Kazakh National University in collaboration with the Joint Institute for High Temperatures (Moscow).

Within the section "Space biomedicine and space biotechnology," conducted neuropsychological testing of astronauts before and after flight for changes related to the factors of space flight, as well as the assessment of the level of absorption of gamma rays by the bodies of astronauts. Studied psycho-physiological state of astronauts during the flight and crew members’ interaction with each other, terrestrial services, taking into account the mentality of the multinational composition of the crew, remained in the enclosed space, the effects of weightlessness and other factors of space and flight. These space experiments are part of a research conducted by Russian scientists at ISS with the participation of Kazakh cosmonaut, which will be important for further flights.

Determined the indices of hormonal and immune status of astronauts under various loads befor, during and after the flight to the ISS, worked out new food-stuff and biologically active ingredients, based on traditional and non-traditional raw materials with directional properties, which increase the adaptive capacity and quality of life of astronauts.

In addition, within the
section "Popularization achievements of manned spaceflight", for the first time, Kazakhstan made projects related to popularization of the achievements of World and national manned spaceflight.

- Please tell the scheduled start date of the space rocket complex Baiterek. What is the status of this ambitious and strategic project?

- At present, the facilities of Baikonur launch base has been badly worn out and needs to be updated.

In these circumstances, the prospects of further use of Baikonur can be achieved through arranging new space rocket complex Baiterek on the basis of environmentally safe Angara launch-vehicle.

Commissioning Baiterek SRC will allow canceling Proton launching.

Baiterek is a joint Kazakh-Russian project, and is of strategic importance for the Republic of Kazakhstan, as it must ensure further trouble-free functioning and development of Baikonur complex.

The main goal of the project is to stop launching Proton launch vehicles, which uses highly toxic components of rocket fuel - heptyl, by replacing it with Angara safe vehicles.

Implementation of the joint project will allow Kazkosmos to real participate in space activities at Baikonur launch base, in spacecraft launches to get experience in arranging and performing launches of launch vehicles, to develop own test facilities.

During the business meeting between Bakhytzhan Sagintayev, Deputy Prime Minister of Kazakhstan and Dmitry Rogozin, Deputy Prime Minister of Russia, held on June 2, 2015, in Baikonur, discussed issues of bilateral cooperation in further implementation of Baiterek project. That they Baikonur marked its 60th anniversary.

The Russian side informed that there would not be possible to start the real construction of Baiterek until 2021 at Baikonur launch base due to involving of all available resources in construction of similar CRC Angara at the launch bases Vostochniy and Plesetsk.

However, testing and commissioning of the Baiterek on the basis of Angara in Baikonur is scheduled for 2024-2025 in accordance with the agreed terms of the continuation of the project.

At the moment, the joint effort is taken to update the feasibility study of the project to reduce the cost of its construction.

- It was mentioned that Ukrainian Zenith would replace Angara.

- In 2012, Leader of the states decided to switch the project Baiterek from Angara launch vehicle to Zenith. In May of 2013 Joint Action Plan for the implementation of Baiterek project was approved.

At the same time, under the current difficult political situation in Ukraine and the sharp deterioration in Russian-Ukrainian relations, Baiterek project on the basis of Zenit has become impossible.

On November 24 of the last year, during the 2nd meeting of the Interdepartmental Government Committee for Baikonur complex, there was agreement made with Roskosmos about other options for implementation of the project Baiterek on the basis of Russian launch vehicle.


Given that today Russia has constructed and tested light and heavy Angara vechicls at Plesetsk, it was decided to switching Baiterek back from Zenit to Angara.

In addition, in order to start actual construction of Baiterek in 2021-2022, the parties have agreed that the JV Baiterek JCS will produce all the necessary project documentation in 2016-2020.

At the same time Kazakh specialists will be trained for launch operation at the existing Proton CBC. In the light of the expected decommissioning of Proton it is required to build and start operating Baiterek at Bainour in 2025-2026.

- What will be percentage of local personnel involvement at Baiterek?

- We plan to involve local people in all areas of Baiterek, except for those operations, access to which is limited to the regime of control over missile technologies, so it will eventually make up roughly 80 percent of the participation of Kazakh specialists.
- It was previously stated that KazSat-2 satellite launched in 2011 will solve plenty of issues related with information support in Kazakhstan.  In particular, it will assist in expanding the range for e-government, Internet and mobile communications. Has this been fixed yet? The purpose of the satellite KazSat-3 was to provide dual backup of two satellites that would provide favorable conditions for transferring of Kazakh operators to KazSat satellite. How is the implementation of this project going on?
- KazSat space satellite communication and broadcasting system (SCS) was designed and developed to meet the needs of the Republic of Kazakhstan in the fixed satellite services, information security of the country and to prevent the outflow of significant financial resources for the lease of resources on foreign communications satellites.

Domestic telecommunications spacecraft (SC) series "KazSat" allow us to implement efficient and reliable satellite links, which in turn are used to provide various communication services to consumers, including access to the Internet and mobile communications.
Currently, major telecommunication operators of Kazakhstan, national companies, force structures, state authorities and private companies enjoy the lease service of transponder capacity of the Kazsat satellites.

National Company Kazsatnet JSC utilizes resources of KazSat for construction Uniform transport medium of state authorities of the Republic, which creates conditions for the development of “ e-government ", the Uniform System of electronic document management of State Authorities and other services in the public interest.

 Since October 2015 the satellite KazSat-2 has been operating a network of 12 Kazakh companies providing telecommunications services and data transmission to end-users.
  Given the positive trend of annual increase in lease capacity of the satellite KazSat-2, today we can be certain that all the assignments to the satellite have successfully completed, load for KazSat-2 is 72 per cent of its operation capacity.

  It is noted that in the world the percentage of load within 70-75 percent is optimal for the normal operation of satellite equipment, taking into account the need for reserves.
   Putting into commercial operation of KazSat-3 communication and broadcasting satellite in December 2014 has provided both dual backup of two communication satellites to be able to provide the most desirable conditions for transition to the national operator of Kazakhstan’s KazSat, and fixed orbital position of 58,5º east longitude for Kazakhstan in the International Telecommunication Union

  Due to the capacity of satellite KazSat-3 our Country significantly reduced the import of services for leasing satellite communication resources from foreign suppliers, and met the needs of the Country in the fixed satellite services completely.
  Currently, 5 Kazakhstan companies use the resources of KazSat-3. KazSat-3 loading is 22 per cent of its operational capacity. Presently, there have been activities carried out to complete the transfer of networks of national telecommunication and broadcasting operators to National KazSat system, which will let for independent operation of the Kazakhstan communication and broadcasting networks, thus providing a complete information security.
We should not forget about the multiplicative effect of KazSat operation, because there have been created new jobs, increased tax revenues to the state budget, raised the prestige of Kazakhstan in the World arena as a member of the club of space countries.

- What is the demand from Kazakhstan part and foreign countries for the data produced by KazEOSat-1 and KazEOSat-2 satellites? How many more satellites of this program will be launched into space in the future?

- Good question. Let's start with the fact that the process flow has began with building of space remote sensing system of the Republic of Kazakhstan (SC ERS, RK) consisting of two optical satellites KazEOSat-1 (high spatial resolution-1 m), KazEOSat-2 (medium spatial resolution - 6.5 m.), ERS ground control satellites and ground target set for receiving and processing of satellite remote sensing data. Launching of satellites was provided after their tests in a test mode and a series of flight tests.

KazEOSat satellites have the ability to survey the entire territory of Kazakhstan in 1 month.

And there has been work performed with state authorities and commercial companies in adjusting procedures for application of remote sensing images of CS ERS, RK in the interest of Kazakhstan's economy, defense and security.

As a result, for today there has been made surveying of all the territory of Kazakhstan and all the major cities in the World. Kazkosmos has signed more than 10 distribution agreements for the future satellite imageries from KazEOSat-1 and KazEOSat-2, which indicates the high quality of the satellites and produced space images following the foreign companies’ tests of the quality of images from our satellites.

Our satellites are capable to survey the entire territory of Kazakhstan in 1 month, and may capture any area of ​​the World, so up to 90 percent of consumers of spatial data is central and local state authorities of Kazakhstan, including law force and law enforcement agencies.

    In particular, as per the request of the Prosecutor General of Kazakhstan there has been done usage of space monitoring to identify violations of the Environmental Code – forest cutting, the identification of oil spills, etc.
Discussion with the Ministry of Agriculture the use of space technologies for monitoring areas of spring crops, defining the fields, seeding schedule, forecasting the gross yield and high-accuracy estimation of the gross yield.

Ongoing development in regards organization of monitoring of transboundary rivers in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and China.

In addition, the Operator of the project - NC Kazakhstan Gharysh Sapary JSC together with the Ministry of Internal Affairs, RK is developing operational cooperation for monitoring emergency disaster zones.

Since April 13, 2015 to the present, more than 50 scenes of actual satellite imagery from satellites KazEOSat -1 and KazEOSat-2 have been delivered to ESC. Besides we made monitoring of the flood in the major cities of Kazakhstan and settlements in Karaganda, Akmola regions and in East Kazakhstan.

The results of the on-line ERS monitoring showed the flooded settlements in Karagandy region and suburbs of Astana.

It should be noted that regular information and services have been provided to foreign countries since the launch of the satellites KazEOSat-1 and KazEOSat-2.

 Kazakhstan’s portion in exporting of ERS data has been developing every day, and we plan to increase it in the next year to 50 percent of total sales every year and plan.

Complex spacecrafts as satellites have a certain service life, ie, a specific period of operation.

    We must duly resolve construction and replacement of the replacement satellite prior to the final life of the previous spacecraft. Only then the satellite system will operate in a given mode. Therefore Kazakhstan, as a country with its own space systems, of course, will continue to deal with the maintenance of efficiency of its space systems, and that will be the purpose for continuing to build cutting-age spacecrafts. The quantity will depend on the assignments and possibilities of the economy.
- How many Kazakhstani specialists have passed training and retraining at the universities of Kazakhstan, CIS and foreign countries for the domestic space industry?

- Successful Implementation of innovative projects in space activities depends on the appropriate development of human resources, providing training, retraining and advanced training of technical and scientific personnel in the field of space activities.

    In this context, Kazkosmos perfoms systematic work: training at the universities of Kazakhstan and as per the international Bolashak program; retraining and improvement of knowledge of space industry abroad; training of Kazakh engineers at leading space companies in France, England and Russia.
In order to create a national system of continuous professional training for the dedicated space industry with the participation of specialists of Kazkosmos, there was developed and approved in 2009, MES State educational standards of the Republic of Kazakhstan for specialization “space equipment and technology."

    At the suggestion of Kazkosmos, order No393 of the Ministry of Education and Science of Kazakhstan as of July 21, 2010 as the base universities to train specialists for the space industry, the following universities have been selected: Al-Farabi Kazakh National University, Eurasian National University; Kazakh National Technical University; Almaty Institute of Energy and Communications; Academy of Civil Aviation.
Currently, training for the space application in the above-mentioned universities is carried out on specialties "flight operation of aircrafts and engines", "aviation engineering and technology", "space equipment and technology."

Kazkosmos provides data to the Ministry of Education and Science of Kazakhstan on the needs of personnel for the space industry for arranging state requests for these specialties on the annual basis.

Currently, according to the MES, the number of students on the space industry amounts 1 641 people, including 1 110 persons trained per the state request.

Since 1996, Kazakhstan's citizens have been getting trained at the branch Voskhod of Moscow Aviation Institute, located in Baikonur for the space industry of the Republic. Since 2008, the MES has been providing annual allocation of 45 grants for training of students at MAI, the branch of Voskhod. To date, 208 Kazakhstani students have got training.

In addition, training for the space sphere is carried out in the framework of the scholarship "Bolashak". During 2006-2014, 76 people have completed the training in undergraduate, graduate and internship. Currently 11 Bolashak students have got education in Kazakhstan.

Within the framework of the budget program "Retraining and professional training in the field of technical regulation and metrology in the space industry", training seminars are organized on the systematic basis (since 2009) and foreign training (since 2012) in strategic areas of space activity.

      In 2014, 8 conferences for 120 managerial, scientific and technical personnel of Kazkosmos and its subordinate organizations. 20 personnel of subordinate organizations Kazkosmos have been trained in educational and scientific centers of the space industry in Russia, Ukraine and Germany.
In general, currently more than 1 000 personnel have been trained for space industry.

    In 2012, design team of ERS (24 people) completed a two-year course of training at enterprises in France and England.
Operating team of ERS (21 persons) has finished a two-year course of training in France, the Design Team of the Space Communication Cystems (12) had an internship at the Russian enterprises of Reshetnev Information Satellite Systems.

    In 2014-2015, conducted internship for 11 engineers of Engineering and Design Office of Space Technology (SKTB) at the French company Airbus Defence and Space and British space company Surrey Satellite Technologies Limited in the performance of contracts to build ATC.
Training engineers SKTB allows Kazakh engineers to work side by side with experienced engineers and gain practical experience and skills in the design and testing of space systems, master the technology of their creation.

- Are there any plans for the fourth Kazakh astronaut? How many citizens of the Republic of Kazakhstan are members of Russia and other countries’ space industries or the nominees for astronauts?

- Modern manned cosmonautics - is, above all, new knowledge, technical progress and the future of humanity.

As Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of Kazakhstan noted during the ceremony of a awarding Aydin Aimbetov, Astronaut on October 14, 2015: "This flight provides a new start for the Kazakhstan’s future in space, participating together with other countries in studying and development of the open spaces of the solar system."

Undoubtedly, in the future Kazkosmos will be developing manned spaceflights. However, as Talgat Musabayev, Chairman of Kazkosmos emphasized earlier in his speeches in the media, that there is no need to increase astronauts just for figure records.

Nominees for the astronauts will be trained only if there is a need for our Country in implementation of the next space research programs.

The Project «Creation of the Earth Remote Sensing Space System of the Republic of Kazakhstan»
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The Project «Creation of the Ground based Infrastructure of High-accuracy Satellite Navigation System»
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The Project «Creation of the Assembly and Testing Complex of the Engineering and Design Office of Space Technology» (ATC)
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TK 66
The Technical Committee of Standardization
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Space days in Kazakhstan
International seminar “Space days in Kazakhstan”, which is organized by JSC “NC “Kazakhstan Gharysh Sapary” is devoted to the creation and operation of the Earth remote sensing space system of the Republic of Kazakhstan (ERS SS RK). The objective of the seminar: exchange of experience with the world leaders in ERS systems, informing of large public about possibility to apply products and services of ERS SS and HSNS of the Republic of Kazakhstan to solve industry problems of the economy of Kazakhstan.
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