Prime Minister Fradkov visits ESTEC
The Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov and his delegation spent a two-day working visit in the Netherlands from 28-30 September. There he met with Dutch industry leaders and Ministers and was also received by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.
On the suggestion of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, on 29 September he made a short stop at ESTEC, the technical Centre of ESA, where he was updated on human spaceflight matters. ESA Director General Jean Jacques Dordain remarked on the excellent collaboration with Russia - especially in human spaceflight - and on the future Soyuz launches that will take place from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana. He very much hoped that this collaboration would become even stronger in the future.
Jörg Feustel-Büechl, Director of Human Spaceflight, briefed the Prime Minister on the European elements of the International Space Station (ISS), notably the Automated Transfer Vehicle, which is at present undergoing testing at ESTEC. Ben Spee, President of Dutch Space, the prime contractor for ERA, the European Robotic Arm, was pleased to announce that ERA will be launched, together with the Russian science module FGB 2, to the ISS in 2007.
ESA astronaut Frank De Winne assisted in fluent Russian in guiding the guest and his delegation through the Erasmus Information and User Centre of the ISS at ESTEC.