Without any fanfare, Russia has apparently resumed launches from Baikonur to the International Space Station. As reported by a few outlets, including Forecast International, Russian space assets were impounded by Kazakhstani authorities earlier this year. These assets were seized due to Russia’s negligence in paying fees for the launch of environmentally “unfriendly” rockets from Kazakhstan.
There has been little reporting in regard to the situation between Russia and Kazakhstan. With that being said, this analyst assumed that until the dispute was settled, Russia would not be able to launch from the Cosmodrome.
Enter Progress MS-23
In a surprise move, Russia launched the resupply Progress MS-23 mission to the International Space Station in May 2023, roughly two months after Kazakh authorities impounded Russia’s assets. Nothing about this mission was special in any way except for the fact that it happened. But how?
Well again, assumptions have to be made, as this is the only launch from Baikonur since this dispute erupted in March 2023. More likely than not, there is some agreement in place between Russia and Kazakhstan to allow Russia to continue servicing the Space Station. The ISS is an international effort, so having special provisions regarding servicing and crewing the station is not far-fetched.
Whether Russia can still launch from Baikonur with payloads that are not ISS-related remains to be seen.
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