The National Space Agency of the Republic of Kazakhstan (Kazakh: Қазақстан Республикасы Ұлттық ғарыш агенттiгi), also known as KazCosmos, or KazKosmos, is Kazakhstan's national space agency, and was officially established on March 27, 2007. The previous year, on June 18, 2006, the communications satellite KazSat 1 was launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome, marking the beginning of Kazakhstan's independent space program. In 2008 communications with the satellite ended, and it was declared lost. The next planned satellite, KazSat 2, has experienced a series of delays, but was launched on July 16th 2011 on board a Proton rocket. KazSat 2 was built by Krunichev and Thales Alenia Space Italy. KazCosmos signed also the contract with ISS-Reshetnev and Thales Alenia Space Italy on June 21st 2011 for the third telecommunications satellite, named KazSat 3.
The head of the agency, Talgat Musabayev, is a veteran of three spaceflights, including two long-duration stays aboard the Russian space station Mir. Musabayev says that the Baikonur cosmodrome, which is in Kazakhstan, is the main component of the cooperation between the Russian and Kazakh space programs. The Russians still heavily use Baikonur for launches.
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