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    MOSCOW, January 8, 2004. /RIA Novosti/ -- Russian President Vladimir Putin and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev intend to sign an agreement concerning the Baikonur launching site.

    The official visit of the Russian President to Kazakhstan is scheduled for January 9-10.

    "One of the key-issues at the agenda of the meeting will be the issue concerning the interaction in the sphere of the space research and effective use for this purpose of the unique Baikonur launching site," a source in the Kremlin disclosed.

    According to the source, the Presidents intend to sign a proper intergovernmental agreement.

    The Baikonur launching site is situated on the territory of Kazakhstan (Baikonur town of Kzyl-Ordinsk region). It was opened on February 2nd, 1955.

    In accordance with Russo-Kazakh agreement as of March 28th, 1994 on "The main principles and conditions of the Baikonur launching site utilization" the launching site was leased to Russia for the term of 20 years with the possibility of the term prolongation.

    Today the Baikonur launching site is one of the largest in the world. It occupies an area of 6,717 square meters and spreads on distance of 75 km from north to south and 90 km from west to east. The on-ground infrastructure of the launching site includes: 9 launching complexes (15 launchers), 11 assembling and testing facilities for space vehicles, space carriers and boosters, 3 fueling stations for refueling of space vehicles and boosters with fuel components and compressed gas, 2 airports and 1 measuring complex.

    At present approximately 70% of space vehicles launches of the Russian space program are conducted at the Baikonur launching site as well as all rocket launches of the piloted programs and putting of space vehicles into geostationary orbit.

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