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Thursday, December 8, 2016

In the famous Baikonur want to close the airfield, where sat the “Buran”


The 55th anniversary year of Yuri Gagarin’s flight into space, the inhabitants and employees of the Baikonur cosmodrome is carried out in anxious anticipation.

Under threat of closure — the airport “Jubilee”, the one on which once sat the “Buran”. More than 300 people can be on the street.


photo: nasa.gov

“As a result of another optimization operation of the airport “Jubilee” at Baikonur cosmodrome will be terminated”, — 222 signatures of employees is the statement to Vladimir Putin. These signatures are collected just 2 days. Those who put their autographs, hoping even not on them but on a direct line with the President, held a month ago. “We have the whole city stood on ears! Everyone was trying to get through to Putin with this disaster” — but the issue of Baikonur in the nearly four-hour conversation of the President with his people and did not hear.

But who else to hope for people living thousands miles away from homeland? The territory of Baikonur, as you know, belongs to Kazakhstan. Everything on it is launch pad, roads, streets, houses and apartments, too. Our only machinery and people, which for the soul nothing.

Rent the Baikonur ends in the still distant year 2050. But today many of the objects are preserved, so as to keep them for far Moscow is too expensive.

Plus, apparently, was the airfield “Jubilee”. The length of the GDP — 4.5 kilometers. 84 meters width. Constructed of reinforced high-strength concrete, only he is able to make to date, in any weather, the heavy aircraft. It was on special flights from Moscow and abroad delivered spacecraft, satellites, domestic and foreign, to launch from Baikonur. Special flights in the last year came here the main and backup crews of cosmonauts training Center flight of Yuri Gagarin.


photo: Ekaterina Sazhneva
One stroke of the pen “Jubilee” was mothballed.

The airfield belongs to the Federal state unitary enterprise “State space scientific-production center of them. M. V. Khrunichev”. The developer of carrier rockets of type “proton” and “Angara”, not getting out today of debts and scandals — in the past year against the previous administration “Khrunichev” was opened almost a dozen criminal cases. Theft, embezzlement, malpractice, fraud… According to preliminary estimates by the media, caused damage to the state amounted to 16 billion rubles.

Most likely, money in the “Khrunichev” is not expected. Especially for some of the heavens cut off from the Motherland, and lost in the Kazakh steppes of the airfield. But it was not always so.

Flights for cash

“Energy-Buran” — our answer to the American “space Shuttle, reusable space transportation system, dream of space ships that will travel through the Universe.

It was under the “Buran” has arrived to Baikonur young ambitious professionals from all over the Soviet Union. Ambitious — not for himself: for the country, for the great tomorrow.

“I, for example, from the Far East, graduated from MAI, and from Baikonur. It was not just an honor, I’m proud of working here, stuck with all your heart,” says one of the employees “Anniversary”.


photo: nasa.gov

“Jubilee”, by the way, the airfield was named in honor of the 60th anniversary of the great October socialist revolution. The decree of the USSR Government on the establishment of the “Buran” was released in autumn 1977. Over ten years have gone on, to prepare and implement this ambitious program. It seemed that this was just the beginning…

…Its first and only flight before becoming an attraction in Gorky Park, the space plane “Buran” made 15 November 1988.

Alteration, destruction, looting. All was not space. And certainly not to the “Jubilee.” “The airport was practically abandoned and in complete ruins stood. But this seems to be a strict pass system was the same people that were hunting for copper and incredibly fell on a classified site, cut a total of kilometers of cable,” say the old — timers.

“Yes what there to speak, until the space was! Myself being pregnant, together with my friends were cooking pasta on a fire because the house was “glacier”, and there was no gas,” — says one of the former patriots Baikonur.

Remembered “Jubilee” only in 1995, to accept the heavy American planes were brought to the us their space vehicles to launch commercial flights already. In Russia, it was cheaper and more profitable. In fact, it is the Americans, in dollars and in cash, raised looted the airfield.

“I restored it ourselves. If you knew how much dirt and debris we pulled out some torn soldier’s jackets… In the toilets went into the street, the toilet of the M/W because the sewer system was damaged. But still there was hope, that all is not in vain. Indeed, the first years of life seemed to be improved” — continue the workers.

Organization and upgrading of the orbital constellation of GLONASS satellites, the launch of the spacecraft under the program of “ExoMars-2016”, which took place less than a month ago. “Apart from all these we still provide transportation and reception passenger service flight, which brought not only our space, the Moscow authorities, but also heads of state and members of government who came to watch their launches, well, and on trips at the same time. We have never had complaints from international customers.”

Actually, Baikonur has always existed two airfields. One was the “Jubilee”, experimental. The other “Extreme” purely civil. The runway there is shorter than a kilometer and thirty meters already. The task of the second airfield is completely different. He took a regular passenger and cargo flights from Moscow. Belonged to the “Extreme” does another Agency.

In 2008, when at Baikonur completely disbanded military unit serving the cosmodrome, the defense Ministry handed over a second airport rocket and space industry. Now they were ruled by the Center for exploitation of ground space infrastructure (TsENKI).

And so it happened that each airport had its own obedience.

“Periodically in “Extreme” repairs were carried out of GDP, then it was closed for a serious extensive reconstruction,” — told the Baykonur’s citizens. All this time the need of the cosmodrome was used only for the “Jubilee.”

Finally, in February 2016 prettier “Extreme” was inaugurated. But the fact that “the Anniversary” became useless, it became clear at once.

“Recently held a meeting where the boss said we are going to eliminate, that is, no, to preserve the best of times, that all duties of the “Jubilee” will take on “Extreme”, wrote “MK” employees “in excess” of the airfield. — We immediately warned that we will complain that we will reach Putin. The management gave the go-ahead: complain, we are in the same position”.

And it’s true. So April 20, retired Director of the space center “South” (Baikonur, included in TsENKI) Michael Vardanyan. This was announced by RNS, citing a source at the cosmodrome. The reasons for the resignation are not specified. But it’s worth noting that the predecessor Vardanyan on this post Evgeniy Anisimov has resigned in 2014, and the predecessor of the Anisimov — Alexander Fadeev — left in 2013.

But this personnel reshuffle, of course, does not fully explain what is going on in Baikonur.

Excitedly by telephone from Baikonur tell me what the Russian may lose space if the airfield “Jubilee” will be closed. In his temporary “conservation” of course, no one believes. “Extreme” is still more a civilian airport, and we are fit to receive absolutely all types of aircraft with a takeoff weight of up to 400 tons, we have specially to the place of unloading of the aircraft are summed up, we work fine and do not need any additional billions of dollars of investments…”

Although it’s a pity high technology, and memory of the “Buran”, but take away its functions “Anniversary” updated “Extreme” over time, and there used to sit a heavy military aircraft, cargo “Boeing”, “Ruslana”, “Beluga”… Sorry not the airfield.

Sorry — people. They have nowhere to go because. “We more than 300 people. So many vacancies at the enterprises of Roskosmos no, a job with a degree in Baikonur stopped. As well as our “Anniversary” useless and spaceport living out their last years, all hopes of leadership, the President associated with the construction of Eastern. And where are we going? Where will we go? Came here in the late 1980-ies under the program “Buran”, now the majority are already under fifty, is not the best age to start life in a new place. In fact, nobody calls,” the worried staff “Jubilee.” In fact, they can deprive livelihood. “Rumor around town that we can first translate to three days a week, then if you reduce the payments were less. This is brought to us orally in accordance with article 74 of the LC RF. If anyone will leave, then the only breadwinners and with small children, and the rest where? Our went to the “Extreme” and tried to get there. But they were denied — there are, say, orders over take-no, — nevertheless such was the rumor that after may 10, “Extreme” seems to again want to shut down to repair the band.

“Yes, we have nothing against “Extreme” is a good airfield, trying to be objective experts. — But ours is still better, tighter band and wide… We can take sides in any weather, at night, in the fog… But on Monday it was announced again that the money for its maintenance, shall be, all of them will be spent on addressing new challenges during transportation of space products with “Extreme”? Yes, it’s not even that. Narrow the specificity of the city of Baykonur, in which there is no longer any businesses, does not allow to find a job to hundreds of unemployed. In the end, we do not blame that now before us, no one cares!”

But most importantly — there is no hope that it will be possible to return to the mainland. To go to Russia under the program of resettlement “superfluous specialists” too. Last year, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev reported that everything was working and living at Baikonur civilians got an apartment on the mainland and in housing no longer require.

Devoted dreamers

In early October of last year, “MK” has published a material “the Devotee Baikonur”: patriots of Russia were homeless”; it was about 2000 famous families of employees of the spaceport, which had the right to return to Russia and get an apartment from the state, but this right they inexplicably illegally deprived. And the blame was never found.


photo: Ekaterina Sazhneva
Unfinished housing for space explorers.

August 25, 2015 in light of the resolution of the Government of the Russian Federation No. 889, in which black and white written that “…citizens subject to resettlement from Baikonur, fully provided with housing”.

It is unclear why and to whom it was necessary — to report to the Prime Minister that all the required flats granted, it’s not personal money officials spent on their purchase? However, that written with a pen… the Program of resettlement was closed. The requests and pleas of Baykonur’s citizens seemed to crashed on the concrete of GDP “Jubilee.” No one wanted to hear. And then these desperate people decided to write in “Moskovsky Komsomolets”.

With nothing Baikonur, as usual, proved to be the most vulnerable: a war with large battles, but still managed to storm their apartment on the mainland, intellectuals, engineers and technicians, state employees (doctors and teachers) are left with nothing.

“You young people are only about greed and think… Where is the apartment? Where is the apartment? About the Motherland we have to think! To raise patriotism!” — explained to me in person when I traveled to Baikonur, the head of administration of Baikonur Anatoly Petrenko. He himself has, by the way, housing in Russia is available, but it’s not about that.


photo: Ekaterina Sazhneva
The graves of those who forever remain in Baikonur.

The resettlement programme operated on the territory of the space of the enclave until 2013 inclusive. The city administration found itself the developer, the state contract and Federal funds to build houses, where and moved the Baykonur’s citizens, whose turn came. Then “living” square footage was replaced with paper certificates. To buy property in a decent place was, alas, impossible, would be enough except that the third apartment in some Central Russian regional center, not in Moscow. For all time, the authorities have issued a total of 141 certificate. But that, as recalled later, was happiness.

The last year of the existence of certificates, the rules tightened even more: now the waiting list could only be those who have been officially reduced from enterprises, became disabled or retired from government agencies. Soon ended and certificates…

30 families of Baykonur’s citizens, the latter, who on paper was given the “living” apartments in Klin near Moscow. This happened back in 2014. The lucky ones were discharged in advance of his old apartment in Baikonur, many were compelled to leave — without local registration to work on a top-secret objects is not allowed. And suddenly on the spot, the wedge, where they went for the keys, revealed that there were no apartments they don’t have that from-for incorrectly issued documents, the firm-Builder has transferred the ownership rights on their property… the administration of Baikonur.

Deceived, tortured, these people also stood in front of me. They had the court, but to sue, and with whom, and what should be set out in the complaint, anybody after all did not have such experience, and they are not accustomed to sue, they used to launch a rocket into the sky…

And ask also seems to be no one: the previous head of the housing construction Directorate of Baikonur town administration who prepared this deal, was already removed from office and prosecuted — not for the Wedge, for another.

Immediately after the “MK” article about Baikonur began a terrible Butch. The Agency was formed a Commission which went to the scene to verify the publication facts, their accuracy and truthfulness.

Interested reviewers and the way in which the journalist “MK” has infiltrated the strictly protected area. Who let? Oh, we certainly will not issue. There were, thank God, and first results. Without a sound and dust finally got their flats 30 families of the sufferers of the Wedge.

Told Putin about the problems of resettlement in Russia of residents of Baikonur. The President instructed to support this category of citizens of the Russian Federation and to prepare a draft decree “On housing and provide residents of Baikonur certificates”. And all like would work out, as happens with us, when the Supreme power takes the matter under his personal control.


photo: Ekaterina Sazhneva
And those who demand them to be returned in a distant, but beloved in Russia.

“That’s just the Ministry of construction and the Ministry of Finance still does not have harmonized this project. In his attempt to include more and East, although that is just being built and there is a very different financial and personnel situation, — re-experiencing the Baykonur’s citizens. — And we don’t want to give more housing for the disabled, other categories of needy trying to cut and erase… So as none can anyone still to negotiate, we are again in the position of extreme” — Yes, until all the paperwork finally between agencies are not consistent, the Decree of the President does not sign. Him just under the highest painting will not be served. The clock is ticking. People are still waiting. Years, decades…

P. S. When the material was going to press, it became known that after the reduction of workers of the airport “Jubilee” here however will remain to serve the technical structure of the airport, the drivers and the security staff, i.e. guards, the last guard will be remaining without the need of Federal property.

Review of the press-service GK “ROSATOM”:

The airport “Jubilee” continues to operate in the same mode in parallel with the airport “Extreme”. Decisions about its conservation because the “Jubilee” specializiruetsya on the cargo planes to spacecraft. But after the reconstruction of the runway of the airport “Extreme” he had a limited ability to take heavy cargo planes in addition to passenger ships. In the future, some functions of the “Jubilee” for the reception of cargo vessels can be transferred to “Extreme”, but it’s not just a matter of time.

If in the future a decision will be made on the transfer functions of receiving, sending, and managing all types of aircraft arriving at the Baikonur airfield “Jubilee” to the airport “Extreme”, some of the staff of the airfield “Anniversary”, who perform these functions on “Jubilee”, in accordance with the Russian legislation will be offered alternative jobs, including “Extreme”.

With regard to 2000 families, while the remaining apartments in Russia, the state Corporation “ROSATOM” jointly with the relevant ministries, agencies and the administration of Baikonur city is working on harmonization of the draft of the decree of the President of the Russian Federation. Specialists of the state Corporation “ROSCOSMOS” working on all aspects of the decree in order to speed up its signing by the President of the Russian Federation. As soon as the formalities and the details will be regulated by the ministries and agencies involved in the approval of this document, the final version will be published on the website of the presidential Administration of the Russian Federation.

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