In March 2023, reports emerged that Kazakh authorities had seized all TsENKI assets in Baikonur and issued orders for the local head of the organization not to leave the country.
In March 2023, reports emerged that Kazakh authorities introduced a formal ban on the export of TsENKI assets from Baikonur into Russia and issued orders for the local head of the organization not to leave the country. These unofficial reports, if proven true, could potentially bring an end to the Baiterek project and upend the entire Soyuz-5 rocket development programme. The reasons behind the reported ban of export of TsENKI's assets in Baikonur are currently unclear. However, it is possible that they may be linked to tensions between Russia and Kazakhstan over the use of the spaceport. Russia has leased the Baikonur Cosmodrome from Kazakhstan since the collapse of the Soviet Union, but the two countries have been negotiating a new agreement for the use of the site.
The Baikonur Cosmodrome is a large spaceport located in Kazakhstan, where Russia uses several launch pads and facilities for its space launches. TsENKI is a Russian organization that specializes in the development and operation of launch facilities and ground equipment. The Baiterek project, which TsENKI was working on in partnership with Kazakhstan's National Space Agency, is aiming to create a new launch site that would enable the launch of the Soyuz-5 rocket from Baikonur Cosmodrome. However, the reports of TsENKI's assets being held from export in Baikonur could have a significant impact on the Baiterek project. Without the support of TsENKI, it would be challenging for Kazakhstan's National Space Agency to continue with the project, potentially rendering it unfeasible.
The Soyuz-5 rocket development, which TsENKI is also involved in, could also be severely impacted by this. Soyuz-5 is a new rocket being developed by Russia, designed to replace the current Soyuz 2 launch vehicle series. It's intended to be used for a range of missions, including launching crew and cargo to the International Space Station. The development of the Soyuz-5 is closely tied to the launch facilities at Baikonur Cosmodrome. Without access to these facilities, the project would face significant delays and challenges in finding an alternative launch site.