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Russia to launch laboratory module to ISS in 2009
16:19 | 12/ 02/ 2007
MOSCOW, February 12 (RIA Novosti) - The completion of a laboratory module for the International Space Station depends on financing, but it should be ready for launch in 2009, the head of the Khrunichev State Space Scientific Production Center said Monday.
Vladimir Nesterov said the Moscow-based center has completed 65-70% of the multipurpose module's construction, which was designed to develop research, functional and other opportunities of the Russian segment of the ISS and "is expected to be launched in 2009 by the Proton booster."
He said an ERA manipulator and DMS-R data management system designed by the European Space Agency may be installed on the module, which can be also used for paid research.
Speaking about the Khrunichev center's plans, Nesterov said the new-generation launch vehicle Angara will undergo flight tests in 2010 in its light version, and in 2011 in its heavy version.
The Angara rockets, which run on a mixture of kerosene and oxygen, are being developed at the Khrunichev center to secure Russia's independence in space activities and access to space from the Plesetsk space station in the country's north, regardless of military-political and economic relations with other states.
He said the Angara rockets will be used as part of the Baitarek space center in Kazakhstan.
Russia and Kazakhstan signed an agreement on the Baitarek joint venture in 2005. The project includes a launch site and testing facilities, and the first test flights at Baitarek will begin in 2011.
"If tests begin in 2001, the first launch from Baitarek will take place in 2012," Nesterov said.
He also said the Khrunichev center will be a basis for the unification of five rocket and space companies, which will make it the largest structure in the country's space sphere, employing some 35,000 people.
Under the government's program, by 2015 the Russian space sector will comprise three or four major corporations uniting most space enterprises.