When Kazakhstan loosing opportunities in oil sector, then it's a matter of corruption; if talking space, then the problem is in incompetence. In addition to all this, there is no system of responsibility for incompetence exists. As an illustration the story with telecommunications satellite can be bring. Money paid, but its wasted, and nobody were punished.
When splitting USSR heritage Kazakhstan accrued to Baikonur spaceport with everything built there on about 46 billion of pukka soviet ruble. Young independent country was unable to use it properly, and for that reason it rented it out to Russia, simply to save unique complex.
Years are passing by, but progress appeared only now. But aal those years the role of space sector is only growing up: satellite communications, meteorology, earth remote sensing (ERS). And now also military utilization programs of space have accelerated. China and US demonstrated anti-satellite weapons operations; and let they used their own produced targets, but they can terminate any other at any moment. Russia forcing updates of its orbital satellite formation not for nothing: such times are going now, than you can't afford to lost time in space-age race.
Astana seemingly spending lots of money of space, especially during last years, but there is no substantial return: the deficit in competency and weak management in space and near-space questions. This is also a sphere, where major players are act hard and merely pull no punches. It's enough to recall declination of Chinese participation over International Space Station (ISS), despite the offer to enter into project with US3 billion and technologies.
On present moment Baykonur is the most engaged object of such profile in the world. There are 34 launches from it are planned on 2010. Even during soviet times there wasn't such activity. Such rival of Baykonur as Sea Start has no potential to compete on number of launches. It limited only on 10 launches per year, but in reality it couldn't handle even 6.
The main rocket carrier, which starts from Baykonur, is Proton. It has problems with ecology, sincу it requires five times more of heptyl, which is very toxic fuel, than conversional type of Russian rocket Satan. Instead, Proton is able to place as much freight on earth geostationary orbit, as Zenith rocket carrier couldn't even carry from Sea Start.
The armament race in space during recent years strung out Russia in earnest. That's why on the line of defense agency of this country launches from Baykonur are performed in accelerated mode. Russia's own space port Plesetsk can solve limited amount of tasks, and full-scale functioning of space port Vostochniy would require no less than a decade.
While Moscow so much needs Baykonur, it's high time to have maximum dividends out of it. Cooperation in space sphere with France (Nursultan Nazarbayev and Nicolas Sarkozy have undersigned a number of important documents) is of course good, but in space sphere it's possible to get considerably more. It's important to solve the problem of space incompetence as fast as possible, which already combined enough expensive to Kazakhstan.
A lion's share of launches on Baykonur is coming down to three companies: Cosmotrans (Russia and Ukraine), Ground Start (Russia, Ukraine, US) and ILS (Russia). These commercial structures, which are working on space port territory, are searching of orders, contracts execution and placing of commercial satellites on boosters of various types on the orbit. Astana went by the way of having share in all these projects, which is correct in any ways. The other business is, that such steps were necessary as soon as yesterday and the day before, when there were plenty of finance in National Fund, and they were spent on various financial literature garbage on US market.
Recently Kazakhstan bought 10% of shares of Cosmotrans Company and declared intensions to enlarge the share until 33%. Also, Astana stated about intensions to buy a part of share stock of Ground Start enterprise, which uses Zenith rocket carriers. This same rocket is used by Sea Start Company, in which Russia, USA, Ukraine and Norway has shares. Zenith carries satellites of lesser mass from ground start, but on the other hand it's cheaper and less troublesome than from sea. We expect positive activity from Kazcosmos in relation to ILS Company, which utilizes Protons.
As early as on 2004 Kazakhstan undersigned agreement with Russia on establishment of Bayterek complex on basis of Angara rocket on territory of Baykonur. In complete form the complex consists of rocket, launch complex and integration & test complex. But by agreement of 2004 only launch complex and I&T became parts of Byterek joint-venture. Now, Kazcosmos is attempting to reformat the agreement to make it in normal way and to include all required components in it. This movement goes in right direction.
The key component of the new launch pad is so-called adapter unit. It will allow launching of rockets of just any mass and various types. Thus, by building this launch pad, Kazakhstan would have the opportunity to use those types of boosters, which would be useful on the moment. Generally, Bayterek is being established for the reason to replace ecologically unfriendly Proton booster. The strategic direction has been chosen correctly, but more attention to details is required, because there are no small things in cosmic sphere.
One thing is to realize the necessity of the own transmission system, but completely other one is to tune this up. The story with KazSat-1 telecommunications satellite demonstrates that quality of performance can kill even most good and positive idea. Now it is important, that such model would not happen to ERS satellite. It both costs ten times more and means yield of another level of quality in space technologies. With assistance of earth distant sensor satellite it is possible to observe situation on oil pipelines, to discover traffic flows on railroads, to check situation in Chu valley and to watch over the neighbors on subject of how many armed forces they bring to the boarders.
Considering the population in Kazakhstan and parameters of its neighbors, in military field Astana must put task to create such army, which could unacceptably harm the enemy. This task is simply insolvable without space component. Taking in consideration, that armament race has reached space in full scale; time couldn't be wasted in this particular question.
Presence of Baykonur space port on the territory of the country gives Kazakhstan trumps, which bigger and more developed countries of the planet haven't. However, we repeat: competency and mechanisms of building it up are sharply required. Without specific knowledge and skills there's no way to expect success on this field.