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US Orders Two Russian Spaceships
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The US space agency, NASA, penned a contract last December with the Russian Space Agency (Roskosmos) for the building of two "Progress" cargo vehicles in 2007-2008, a senior official of the construction corporation told a press conference in Moscow on Thursday.

Besides, "negotiations have now progressed to the construction in 2009-2011 of six manned 'Soyuz' and six 'Progress' spaceships to deliver crews and freight to the International Space Station (ISS), " Nikolai Sevastyanov, Head and Constructor-General of the "Energia" Rocket Space Construction Corporation, was quoted by the Itar-Tass news agency as saying.

Energia, Russia’s principal manned cosmonautics organization, has a major workload in the coming three years to develop the Russian segment of the ISS as well as replacing the American shuttles by new vehicles, starting from 2010, according to Sevastyanov.

"We shall double the output of 'Soyuz' spacecraft and 'Progress' transport vehicles in 2009. Whereas today we are at an annual building capacity of two 'Soyuz' and four 'Progress' spacecraft, this number will be increased to 4 and 7 respectively," he said.

(Xinhua News Agency January 12, 2007)

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