Bullseye but I think Baikonur's days are numbered, the Russians are having political problems with some of their former soviet republics and the place which launched the first man into space will finally be shutdown in the next decade. Launch failures are costly because of dangers to the populations, one local islamic official wants to sue Russia because of hazards from toxic fuels. Sometimes on return to Earth the Russian rocket parts are looted by local Kazakh people who sell some of these sophisticated equipment for scrap metal
Russia's Soyuz program is moving to French Guiana in South America
KOUROU, French Guiana (AFP) — The Guiana Space Centre (CSG) is girding for a new era when it will host Russian rockets and Russian engineers who just a short while ago were Europe's space rivals.
For 40 years, this base on the coast of French Guiana was the prestigious symbol of French, and then European, ambitions in space.
On Sunday, a freighter is due to dock in Cayenne bearing a first consignment of 150 containers of equipment to fit out a launch pad at CSG where, from the second half of 2009, the first "European" Soyuz is scheduled to blast into space.
"The challenge will be to put together everything that was made in Russia with what's been built here in Guiana and to ensure that it works," said Jean-Yves Le Gall of Arianespace, the European company that has signed the Soyuz deal.
"All the civil engineering work on the pad will be finished by the end of August and after that, the task will be to install the Russian equipment," said Frederic Munoz, a launch executive with France's National Centre for Space Studies (CNES).
A team of 14 Russian technicians will be working on the first consignment, to be followed by nearly 90 more in the following weeks.