Duma ratifies space agreements with ESA, other countries
At a plenary session on April 28 the State Duma (the lower chamber of Russia's parliament) ratified the agreement between the Russian government and the European Space Agency on cooperation and partnership in the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes.
According to official spokesman for the Russian government Sergei Kislyak, Deputy Foreign Minister, the document provides for scientific-technical and industrial cooperation between Russia and ESA, representing the interests of 15 European states, and targets joint implementation of large-scale and long-term programs and projects in the sphere of fundamental and applied space research.
It is, particularly, earth remote sensing, meteorological survey, space communications, manned space flights and the use of space transportation systems such as launches of ESA satellites on Russian Soyuz-ST rockets from Kourou.
In turn, Anatoly Perminov, chief of Russia's Federal Space Agency, noted that such work under the agreement would help broaden Russia's international cooperation in space exploration and ensure orders for Russian enterprises and institutions in the space sector.
According to Perminov, cooperation in creating promising launch systems will be done in the following directions: reusable liquid-propellant rocket engines burning liquid oxygen and hydrocarbon fuel, reusable launchers and experimental reusable spacecraft.
Perminov noted that implementation of this agreement would allow Russia actually without any financial investments to participate in the ESA space programs. He specified that the document defines general issues related to the protection of technologies, intellectual property, copyright, use of scientific and technical information and equipment subject to the export control.
He also said that movement of equipments and information to and from the territories of the participating countries would continue to be tax- and duty-free.
The State Duma also ratified the agreement between the Russian and Italian governments on cooperation in space research and the peaceful use of space.
Commenting on the agreement, Mr. Kislyak specified that NPO PM and Alenia Spazio are looking into the development of a satellite data relay system for high-altitude and Polar regions.
In addition, in preliminary preparation is the project for joint development of a reusable liquid-propellant rocket engine for promising space transportation systems. A corresponding cooperation agreement has already been concluded between KB Khimavtomatika of Voronezh and Fiat Avio.
A possibility of using the Russian Start launcher for orbiting commercial cargoes from the Italian launch facility in Kenya is also being studied.
Duma also ratified the space cooperation agreement between the Russian and Australian governments. Kislyak told Duma deputies that this document provides for the Russian-Australian joint work on projects for the development and service of unmanned and manned spacecraft and the ground infrastructure. Among these projects is the building in Australia (Christmas Island) of a launch facility for commercial orbiting of satellites with the help of the Russian Aurora system.
Duma also ratified the agreement between the Russian and German governments on cooperation in space research and the peaceful use of space
The lower chamber of parliament has also ratified a similar agreement with the Kingdom of Belgium.
One of the major achievements in the Russian Belgian cooperation is the Volga project for creating a new oxygen-methane rocket engine by 2009 is implemented with the participation of the Belgian TechSpace Aero, NPO Energomash (town of Khimki near Moscow) and KB Khimavtomatika.
The Belgian side is most interested in the promising developments by the Khrunichev Space Centre, now studying the package of cooperation proposals.