Posts Tagged ‘Kazakhstan’

Kazakhstan Wants Russia To Hand Over Their Baikonur Space City

December 11th, 2012 12:07 admin View Comments


Hugh Pickens writes writes “RIA Novosti reports that Kazakhstan and Russia are in talks over returning the city of Baikonur to Kazakhstan — the site of the first Soviet rocket launches and Russia’s most important space launch center. Baikonur, built in Kazakhstan in the 1950s, is the main launch facility for the current generation of Russian rockets and was leased by Russia from Kazakhstan under an agreement signed in 1994 after the collapse of the Soviet Union. ‘Today both nations’ governments have decided to set up a new intergovernmental commission for the Baikonur complex to be headed up by first or other deputy prime ministers,’ said Talgat Musabayev, head of Kazakhstan’s space agency. At issue is control over Baikonur and the rent Russia pays Kazakhstan to use the facility, a subject of ongoing dispute between the two nations ever since Kazakhstan gained independence from the USSR. Earlier this year, Kazakhstan blocked Russia from launching several rockets from Baikonur in a dispute over a drop zone for debris and Kazakhstan insisted this must be covered by a supplement to the main rental agreement signed in Astana in 2004, extending Russia’s use of the space center’s facilities until 2050. Russia pays an annual fee of approximately $115 million to use the space center, which currently has the world’s busiest launch schedule, as well as $50 million annually for maintenance. Russia and Kazakhstan are working to build a new space launch facility at Baikonur, called Baiterek, to launch Angara carrier rockets capable of delivering 26 metric tons of payload to low-Earth orbits but Russia intends to eventually withdraw from Baikonur and conduct launches from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome, an operating spaceport about 500 miles north of Moscow — and the unfinished Vostochny Cosmodrome in the Russian Far East.”

Source: Kazakhstan Wants Russia To Hand Over Their Baikonur Space City

Longest US Space Mission Planned For 2015

November 27th, 2012 11:29 admin View Comments


SchrodingerZ writes “Captain Scott Kelly, brother of former commander Mark Kelly, will embark on the United States’ longest manned space mission, set for 2015. Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko will spend an entire year on the orbiting International Space Station. The mission will be a first for NASA’s space program, but it is far from the world record. The longest recorded time in space was the 438-day mission of Russia’s Valery Polyakov, working on the Mir Space Station, 1994-1995. Kelly, a decorated Navy captain received degrees from State University of New York Maritime College and the University of Tennessee, and was the flight engineer for space station expedition 25, and commander of expedition 26 in 2010. ‘Kornienko hails from Russia’s Syzran, Kuibyshev, region and has worked in the space industry since 1986.’ The yearlong study on humans working in space will launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, spring 2015.”

Source: Longest US Space Mission Planned For 2015

Gold Artifact To Orbit Earth In Hope of Alien Retrieval

October 4th, 2012 10:00 admin View Comments

Data Storage

Lucas123 writes “The problem: What do you leave behind that billions of years from now, and without context, would give aliens an some kind of accurate depiction of mankind. The answer: A gold-plated silicon disc with just 100 photos. That’s the idea behind The Last Pictures project, which is scheduled to blast off in the next few months from Kazakhstan and orbit the earth for 5 billion years. The photos, etched into the silicon using a bitmap format, were chosen over a five-year process that involved interviews with artists, philosophers, and MIT scientists, who included biologists, physicists, and astronomers. To each, was posed a single question: What photos would you choose to send into outer space? The answer became an eclectic mix of images from pre-historic cave paintings to a photo of a group of people taken by a predator drone.”

Source: Gold Artifact To Orbit Earth In Hope of Alien Retrieval

Star City and the Baikonur Cosmodrome

May 16th, 2012 05:20 admin View Comments


First time accepted submitter zyborg writes “Here’s 44 photographs of the Baikonour Cosmodrome used by the ISS program. The pictures range from training, launch vehicle transport and assembly, launch, touchdown, pictures from space, etc. From the article ‘Earlier today, a Soyuz-FG rocket lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, carrying an International Space Station (ISS) crew into orbit. Baikonur, Russia’s primary space launch facility since the 1950s, is the largest in the world, and supports multiple launches of both manned and unmanned rockets every year. With the U.S. manned space program currently on hold, Baikonur is now the sole launching point for trips to the ISS. Gathered here is a look at the facility, some of the cosmonaut training programs in Star City outside of Moscow, and a few recent launches and landings — plus a bonus: 3 spectacular long-exposure images of Earth from the ISS.’”

Source: Star City and the Baikonur Cosmodrome

Kazakh Gold Medalist Is Played Borat Anthem

March 23rd, 2012 03:47 admin View Comments


Wo-wo-wee-wah! It looks like the Kuwaiti officials at an international shooting event never got the memo that the film Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan wasn’t an actual documentary. Gold medalist Maria Dmitrienko stood stoically while the offensive national anthem from the film was played during the awards ceremony. From the article: “Coach Anvar Yunusmetov told Kazakh news agency Tengrinews that the tournament’s organizers had also got the Serbian national anthem wrong.” Nice!

Source: Kazakh Gold Medalist Is Played Borat Anthem

New ‘Enemies of the Internet’ Listed In Reporters Without Borders Study

March 13th, 2012 03:45 admin View Comments

The Internet

New submitter Warmlight writes “The BBC reports that ‘Bahrain and Belarus have been added to Reporters Without Borders’ annual list of “enemies of the internet.” They join 10 other nations on the campaign group’s register of states that restrict net access, filter content and imprison bloggers. India and Kazakhstan have also joined RWB’s list of “countries under surveillance” because of concerns that they are becoming more repressive.’ I wonder how ACTA will affect this in the next year? In their report, they say, ‘Resistance to ACTA is stronger than ever and the treaty may not see the light of day. Vigilance must be maintained.’”

Source: New ‘Enemies of the Internet’ Listed In Reporters Without Borders Study

Sergey: In Soviet Russia, Rocket Detonates You!

February 11th, 2012 02:50 admin View Comments


theodp writes ” We were all foolish enough to go on this adventure,’ Google co-founder Sergey Brin told the assembled Brainiacs at Google’s Solve for X event last week, recalling the time he and Google co-founder Larry Page took their Gulfstream on a $100K journey to watch a 2008 Soyuz launch in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. ‘If the rocket blows up, we’re all dead,’ Sergey overheard a Russian guard say. ‘It was incredibly close,’ Sergey continued. ‘We drove in toward this rocket and there were hundreds of people all going the other way. It was really an astonishing sight. If you ever have the opportunity, I highly recommend it. It’s really not at all comparable to the American launches that I’ve seen…because those are like five miles away behind a mountain, and the Russians are not as concerned with safety.’ Sergey received film credit for the recently-opened Man on a Mission, a documentary on the Russian Soyuz mission that wound up putting Ultima creator Richard Garriott into orbit (for $30 million) instead of changing the course of Google history.”

Source: Sergey: In Soviet Russia, Rocket Detonates You!

Russia’s Top 5 Web Startups Of 2011 Mostly Rip Off U.S.’s

January 20th, 2012 01:00 admin View Comments

Russia-Computer-150.jpgIn America, 240 million people are wired…to the Internet. And in Russia, 60 million people are online. That’s nearly half of Russia’s population of 139,390,205 people. Russia is currently the largest Internet market in Europe, and its Internet population has been steadily growing year over year. The population of Internet users has just hit 42.8% of the entire Russian population. Last year, we wrote about the top 10 startups of 2011. But what are the top Russian startups? And are they all just American knockoffs?

We took a look at Russian startups, breaking them down into five categories: hotel booking, games, daily deals sites, discovery engines and social networks. Here they are, in no particular order whatsoever. The Russian Version of Kayak and Travelocity is a Russian hotel booking site similar to the American sites Kayak and Travelocity. It received $5 million in April 2011. The site’s founders are also behind online property and DataArt, a premier software developing site for the EU and USA travel sectors. connects with users’ profiles, and aggregates reviews from CEO Marina Kolesnik, who is from St. Petersburg, studied at Harvard Business School. Quintura calls her one of the “most visionary female internet entrepreneurs in Russia.”

ZeptoLab Is Russia’s Answer To America’s Super Popular Angry Birds

Cut-The-Rope-ZeptoLab.pngWhat’s better than throwing angry birds at stone-and-wood structures populated with green pigs? In 2010, Moscow-based Russian developers Zeptolab created the iOS game Cut The Rope. Published by Chillingo, the game has already reached 60 million downloads. “Cut the Rope” is essentially a physics game that feels a lot like “Angry Birds.” Users use a finger to cut the rope at an angle. A piece of candy falls, hitting stars on its way down. Sometimes the piece of candy hangs by three ropes; other times by one. Zeptolab has not received any venture money for this, and by August of last year, ZeptoLab released a sequel, Cut The Rope: Experiments.

BigLion Is Russia’s Answer To Groupon, And A Total Rip-Off

BigLion delivers “the highest revenue growth in Russia’s Internet history,” according to Quintura. This site does, however, look and feel exactly like Groupon. TechCrunch wrote about Big Lion in April 2010, noting both how ideologically close it is and shooting down its very “cut/copy” ideas. “But how anyone can hold their head up high when this is hew they make a living is beyond me,” writes TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington. Ouch. Something must be working, however, because BigLion is making $15 million monthly revenues over its short 1.5 year run. At the end of 2011, Russian business daily Vedomosti reported that BigLion attracted funds from Tiger Global Management. East-West Digital News reported that BigLion co-founder Oleg Savtsov confirmed the deal; Vedomosti learned that the investment volume was in the $25-$30 million range.


SurfingBird Is Russia’s StumbleUpon is a discovery engine that personalizes to the user’s taste graph. Tell it what you like, and it finds pages, photos and videos that it thinks you will like. Users register with their Facebook, Vkontakte or accounts. In 2011, it raised $2.5 million in equity funding from Russian and French angel investors. It was founded in 2010. The Russian Answer to Facebook, which translates to “In Contact,” is a Russian social network that rivals America’s Facebook. Its design strongly resembles Facebook of years past, but Russians are not spending their time on Facebook. currently has 110 million users to Facebook’s 800 million. Approximately 70% of the visitors live in Russia. Of the Russian visitors, 25% are from Moscow, and 12% are from St. Petersburg. reaches users in Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus as well.

Source: Russia’s Top 5 Web Startups Of 2011 Mostly Rip Off U.S.’s

Using WikiLeaks As a Tool In Investigative Journalism

December 19th, 2011 12:07 admin View Comments

The Media

Hugh Pickens writes writes “It took a team of ten reporters working two months to sift through 250,000 confidential American diplomatic cables at the NY Times, but when a story idea recently came up that I wanted to research in more detail, I found Wikileaks to be a very useful and accessible tool for further investigation. First, some background: For the past ten years I have written stories about Peace Corps safety and medical issues, the Peace Corps’ budget appropriations, and the work done by volunteers in their countries of service on a web site I publish called ‘Peace Corps Online.’ When the Peace Corps announced last month they were taking the unusual step of suspending their program in Kazakhstan and withdrawing all 117 volunteers, I decided to dig deeper and find out what was behind the decision to leave the country. First I went to blogs of volunteers serving in Kazakhstan and found that four rapes or sexual assaults of volunteers had occurred in the past year and that it had became increasingly difficult for volunteers to conduct their work. But the biggest revelation was when I found fourteen U.S. diplomatic cables on Wikileaks that cited elements in the Kazakhstani ‘pro-Russian old-guard at the Committee for National Security (the KNB, successor to the KGB) aimed at discrediting the Peace Corps and damaging bilateral relations’ with the U.S. Further investigation on Wikileaks revealed how one Peace Corps volunteer had been sentenced to two years imprisonment in 2009 after ‘what appeared to be a classic Soviet-style set-up.’ The volunteer was only freed through the diplomatic efforts of U.S. Ambassador Richard Hoagland and the personal intervention of Kazakhstani President Nursultan Nazarbayev.”

Source: Using WikiLeaks As a Tool In Investigative Journalism

Kazakhstan Disables the Internet , Telecomix Restores

December 17th, 2011 12:55 admin View Comments


bs0d3 writes “In the face of oil protests on their 20th independence day, Kazakhstan has blocked the internet and disabled cellphone towers in the city of Zhanaozen. As with previous internet blackouts, hactivist group telecomix is putting together free dial-up servers for people blacked out in this region.”

Source: Kazakhstan Disables the Internet , Telecomix Restores