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August 25, 2014 12:29

Russia may carry on ISS project after 2020 - newspaper

MOSCOW. Aug 25 (Interfax) - Russia may carry on the International Space Station (ISS) project after 2020 although the wish to drop out was declared this spring, Izvestia wrote on Monday.

The Russian membership in the ISS project after 2020 is still open for consideration but there is 90% probability the national administration will decide to carry it on, the newspaper quoted a source in the Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) as saying.

In addition, rocket and space industry enterprises are building new ISS modules and the works are funded by the budget, it pointed out.

"ISS modules are being built consistent with a contract," United Rocket and Space Corporation (URSC) Information Policy Director Igor Burenkov told Izvestia.

The Roscosmos press service confirmed the ongoing construction of ISS modules but said a decision regarding the expediency of those works would be made shortly.

A senior source in Roscosmos told the newspaper the reason was the uncertainty about Russia's further involvement in the ISS project.

"If we take a look at the relevant section of the federal space program, we will see that the Russian Academy of Sciences is the ISS project customer. Our American partners have said many times they wished to continue the ISS operations after 2020. When they heard our leaders saying that Russia wanted to close down the project in 2020, they fostered the interaction with scientists and made interesting propositions of works in the period after 2020. A yearlong mission of a U.S. astronaut and a Russian cosmonaut to the ISS is scheduled for 2015," the Roscosmos source told Izvestia.

He said the Americans had offered the Institute of Medical and Biological Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences to arrange another yearlong mission experiment.

"Meanwhile, Roscosmos is not very interested in halting the ISS works right now: the federal space program of 2006-2015 allots 186.6 billion rubles for the station. If we stop building new modules of the station, considerable funds will be written off and some enterprises will have to start massive dismissals," he added.

Mark Belakovsky from the Academy's Institute of Medical and Biological Problems confirmed the proposal of a second yearlong mission to Izvestia and said it was being discussed.

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said in early May 2014 that Russia intended to not expend its membership in the ISS project after 2020, the newspaper recalled. NASA had earlier imposed sanctions on Russia and said they would break up in every sphere but the ISS. Joint works in the ISS project continued.

Te

(Our editorial staff can be reached at eng.editors@interfax.ru)

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