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    Russia and Kazakhstan presidents to celebrate Baikonur birthday

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    MOSCOW, June 1 (RIA Novosti) - On Thursday President Vladimir Putin will arrive in Kazakhstan with a working visit, the Kremlin press service said.

    Together with the president of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbaev, the Russian president will take part in the official celebrations on the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Baikonur launching site .

    The two presidents are expected to lay a symbolic stone in the foundation of the joint Russian-Kazakh space rocketry complex Baiterek. They will also inspect facilities of the cosmodrome, meet with Baikonur employees and city dwellers.

    Putin and Nazarbayev will attend the official meeting on the Baikonur jubilee. At this meeting, veterans of the cosmodrome will be awarded the title Honorary Citizen of the City of Baikonur.

    On the cosmodrome, the two leaders will sign a series of bilateral documents. "During the conversation they will discuss a perspective for deeper bilateral cooperation in space, consider topical questions of bilateral relations," a source in the Kremlin told RIA Novosti.

    Alongside the presidents of Russia and Kazakhstan, over 700 veterans of the cosmodrome, large governmental delegations from Russia and Kazakhstan, over a hundred Russian and Kazakh journalists will arrive to the festivities.

    "Russia sees the cosmodrome jubilees as a momentous event in the history of Russia and the world cosmonautics," the Kremlin source told RIA Novosti.

    The interviewee said that "interaction between Russia and Kazakhstan in the insurance of efficient operation of the Baikonur cosmodrome, leased by Russia until 2050, and is an important component of the many-sided and mutually advantageous Russian-Kazakh cooperation."

    "Thanks to the pooling of efforts of Russia and Kazakhstan, the Baikonur cosmodrome will remain as one of the biggest launching sites in the world. It accounts for over 70% of the launches of spacecraft by Russia," the Kremlin source said.

    Russian-Kazakh space cooperation is not only the lease of Baikonur, he said. "A set of joint projects is carried out, such as the unfolding in Baikonur of the Baiterek space rocketry complex, launch of the Kazakh communication and broadcast satellite KAZSAT, as well Kazakh cosmonauts are trained in Russia," he said.

    In 1957 the first-ever artificial Earth satellite was launched from Baikonur. On April 12, 1961, the world's first cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin went on a space mission.

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