(ORDO NEWS) — The current chaos in Kazakhstan is not having a major impact on the country’s famous spaceport, Russian officials said.
The spike in fuel prices recently sparked protests across Kazakhstan, an autocratic Central Asian state that was once part of the Soviet Union.
Some of these protests escalated into violence, resulting in the deaths of dozens of anti-government protesters, according to The New York Times.
But the Baikonur cosmodrome – a cosmodrome that was created in southern Kazakhstan by the Soviet Union in 1955 and remains the starting point for all Russian space flights with crews – has not suffered from the riots, according to Roscosmos.
“The situation in Baikonur is normal, all law enforcement agencies are working as usual,” the press service of Roscosmos said.
“The head of the Baikonur administration, Konstantin Busygin, regularly reports on the situation around Baikonur to the general director of Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin.”
NASA astronauts are frequent visitors to Baikonur; in recent years, they have traveled many times to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard the Russian Soyuz spacecraft.
Soyuz was the only orbital spacecraft available to astronauts for nearly a decade after NASA abandoned its space shuttle fleet in 2011.
That all changed in 2020 when SpaceX’s Dragon capsule began regular flights to the ISS from Florida. Aerospace giant Boeing is also working to build its own astronaut taxi, the CST-100, soon.
Currently, there are no NASA staff and equipment at Baikonur, so the current situation in Kazakhstan does not directly affect the agency, agency spokesman Dan Huot said.
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