Both the Sputnik satellite and the first human in space, Yuri Gagarin, have taken their first steps out into the Cosmos from Baikonur, Kazahstan and, up to this day, the Baikonur launch site is still the one the Russian space program primarily uses.
Even with all this history behind Baikonur, Kazakhstan chose U.S-based company SpaceX for its latest satellite launch, the KazistiSat, instead of a Russian-made rocket.
According to Russian website Interfax, SpaceX was chosen to deliver the payload because it’s less expensive. Even so, Aset Nurenov, press secretary of the Ministry of Defense and Aerospace Industry, said that the total cost is confidential, at the demand of the launch provider.
Needless to say, this partnership brings a very interesting dynamic in the space rocket game between SpaceX and Russia, since SpaceX has become more appealing for satellite missions mostly thanks to the lower costs but also because the rockets have proved to be more reliable.
The Kazakh satellite will launch no earlier than November 19 from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.