|Established||27 March 2007|
|Primary spaceport||Baikonur Cosmodrome|
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.
On 7 January 2000, the Kazakh government decreed it would form a cosmonaut corps. At that time, two Kazakh cosmonauts had already flown, Toktar Aubakirov in 1991, and Talgat Musabayev (1994, 1998; later 2001). Out of 2000 candidates, two were selected, Aidyn Aimbetov and Mukhtar Aymakhanov, in 2002. They were sent to Star City for training from 2003 until 2009, when the world financial crisis indefinitely postponed the spaceflight. In 2009, they returned to work in KazCosmos. They had originally been projected for a spaceflight in 2005 or 2006. Aymakhanov left Kazakhstan in 2012 to become a Russian citizen to pursue a cosmonaut career. Aimbetov was still ready for spaceflight in April 2015. In June 2015, he was selected as the replacement for Sarah Brightman on Soyuz TMA-18M/Soyuz TMA-16M, who had declined to fly, and her backup Satoshi Takamatsu also declined. Soyuz TMA-18M will launch in September 2015. Aimbetov had originally been projected to fly on a 2017 launch. Aidyn Aimbetov launched from Baikonaur on 2 September 2015 aboard Soyuz TMA-18M, docked with the International Space Station, and returned on 11 September 2015 aboard Soyuz TMA-16M, touching down on the Kazakhstan Steppe, having spent 10 days in space.
The year prior to establishment, on June 18, 2006, the communications satellite KazSat-1 was launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome, marking the beginning of Kazakhstan's independent inflight space operations. In 2008 communications with the satellite ended, and it was declared lost. The next planned satellite, KazSat-2, experienced a series of delays, but was launched on July 16, 2011 on board a Proton rocket. KazSat-2 was built by Krunichev and Thales Alenia Space Italy. KazCosmos signed a contract with ISS-Reshetnev and Thales Alenia Space Italy on June 21, 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.
- "PM introduced new head of Kazakh National Space Agency". kazinform. April 12, 2007.
- "Kazakhstan's Third-Ever Cosmonaut to Replace Pop Star Brightman on ISS Mission". The Moscow Times. 22 June 2015.
- "Aidyn Aimbetov: Flying into the Space is not Buying a Theater Ticket". Akimat of Astana. 13 April 2015.
- Sara Kabikyzy (11 September 2009). "A. Aimbetov appointed Advisor to Kazkosmos Chairman". KazInform.
- "2 Kazakh Cosmonauts to Undergo Training at Russia's Stellar City". PRAVDA.ru. 6 March 2003.
- Anatoly Zak (22 June 2015). "Kazakh cosmonaut to replace Brightman on space station trip". Sen.
- Jeff Foust (22 June 2015). "Kazakh Cosmonaut To Take Brightman's Place On Soyuz Flight". Space News.
- AFP (22 June 2015). "Russia eyes Kazakh cosmonaut as space tourist". Space Daily.
- Irene Klotz (11 September 2015). "Record-setting cosmonaut, two visiting crewmen head home from space station". Reuters. Science Daily.
- Chris Gebhardt (3 September 2015). "Soyuz TMA-18M docks to increase ISS crew size to nine". NASA Spaceflight .com.
- "BAIKONUR IS STILL THE CORE OF KAZAKH-RUSSIAN COOPERATION IN SPACE". interfax.kz. February 2008.
- "KazSat". russianspaceweb.com.
- "First ILS Proton Shared Launch with the KazSat-2 Satellite - Kazkosmos". ILS website. July 16, 2011.
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