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Russia, Europe ink deal on new manned spacecraft

by Staff Writers
Moscow (AFP) May 14, 2008
The Russian and European space agencies have signed a deal to build a six-seat manned spacecraft to travel to the Moon, a Russian space official said Wednesday.

Russian space agency Roskosmos and the European Space Agency "on Tuesday signed an accord on the creation of a manned vessel to transport up to six people around the Earth and to the Moon," Roskosmos spokesman Alexander Vorobyev told AFP.

Testing of the 20-tonne vehicle is due to begin in 2015, with the first launch to take place in 2018 in the planned Vostochny space base in Siberia, Vorobyev said.

The new craft will be phased in with the replacement of the Russian Soyuz rocket, which currently carries most Russian and American crews to the International Space Station, he said.

US space agency NASA's planned Orion space vehicle is due to ferry astronauts humans to the International Space Station from 2015 following the retirement of the US space shuttle programme in 2010.

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First Korean Astronaut Yi So-Yeon Leaves Hospital After Soyuz Hard Landing
Seoul (AFP) May 14, 2008
South Korea's first astronaut has left hospital after treatment for severe back pain caused by her unexpectedly rough return to earth, officials said Wednesday.

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