Russia may surrender lease on some Baikonur space facilities, manage them with Kazakhstan

A Russian space official says lease agreements for some launch facilities in Kazakhstan could be suspended, opening the way for their joint administration by the two countries.

Roscosmos deputy head Sergei Savelyev told the Ivzestia newspaper in an interview published Thursday that the first facility to come under review is the pad used to launch the satellite-deploying Zenit rockets.

Statements from Kazakhstan about the complex had provoked some speculation that it was seeking higher rental payments, but the Central Asian nation also seems intent on expanding its own space industry.

Savelyev said Kazakhstan has expressed interest in the training of its own space experts.

Russia currently pays Kazakhstan $115 million annually to use the Soviet-built cosmodrome under a deal that expires in 2050.