MOSCOW, April 28 (RIA Novosti) - At a plenary session on Wednesday, 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 space for peaceful ends.

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 the ESA, representing the interests of 15 European states, and targets joint implementation of large-scale and long-term programmes and projects in the sphere of documentary and applied space research.

It is, particularly, remote earth probing from space, meteorological survey, space communication, manned space flights and the use of space transport systems such as the launch by the space agency of satellites by the Russian Soyuz-ST carrier rockets from Kourou (French Guiana). They are a modification of the Soyuz-2 adapted for the equatorial conditions, he explained.

In turn, Anatoli 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.

"For instance, work under the Soyuz-ST project will total 344 million euros, 121 million of which will pay for the work done in the Russian industry", Perminov explained.

He added that after 2006 between 30 and 40 launches will be made during ten years.

To Perminov, cooperation in creating promising carrier rockets will be done in the main three directions: multiple-use liquid-propellant rocket engines firing liquid oxygen and hydrocarbon fuel, multiple-use engines and experimental reusable spacecraft.

Perminov noted that implementation of this agreement will let Russia actually without financial investments participate in the ESA space programmes. He specified that the document settles everything in the protection of technologies, intellectual property, copyright, use of received scientific-technical and confidential business information and equipment getting under export control.

He also said that movement of equipment, information in the territory of the countries-participants in the agreement will be tax- and duty-free.

Commenting on the State Duma ratification of the package of agreements on the use of space for peaceful ends, Perminov noted that their realization will attract to Russia several billion dollars of foreign investments and preserve about 150,000 jobs until 2015.

On Wednesday the State Duma also ratified the agreement between the Russian and Italian governments on cooperation in space research and the peaceful use of space.

Within such activities, it is also intended to exchange scientific and technical information, equipment and technologies.

According to the deputy minister, work under this agreement will create conditions for increasing financing and the number of orders for Russian enterprises and institutions in the space sector.

He specified that the Scientific-Industrial Association Applied Mechanics (city of Krasnoyarsk in Siberia) and the Italian firm Alenia Spazio are looking into the formation of a satellite data relay system for high-altitude and Polar regions, its use as part of the present fleet of satcom stations of the foreign standard Inmarsat-Aero.

In addition, in preliminary preparation is the project for joint building of a reusable liquid-propellant rocket engine for promising multiple-use space transport systems. The relative cooperation agreement has already been concluded between the design office Khimavtomatika (city of Voronezh in heartland Russia) and the Italian firm Avio.

The possibility of using the Russian Start space rocketry systems for the launch of commercial cargoes from the Italian launch base in Kenya is under study.

Kislyak explained that, in keeping with the agreement, movement of equipment in the two countries will be customs duty- and tax-free.

On the same day, the State Duma ratified the space cooperation agreement between the Russian and Australian governments.

Kislyak told Duma deputies that this documents provides for Russian-Australian joint work on projects for the development and service of unmanned and manned spacecraft and the overland infrastructure. Among these projects is the building in Australia (Christmas Island) of a launch proving ground for commercial orbiting of satellites with the help of the Russian space rocketry system Avrora.

The agreement also intends cooperation in space research, earth study and monitoring from space, space materials science, space medicine and biology, communication and satellite navigation systems, including the development and manufacture of spacecraft and on-board instruments.

Within the framework of the agreement, exchange of scientific and technical information, equipment, machines and technologies is intended.

In the deputy minister's opinion, work in these directions will create conditions for financing and the growth of orders for Russian space enterprises and research institutions, making it possible to increase the export of Russian high-tech products also to Australia.

The document also settles the matter of the sides' intellectual property and property protection. Movement of finished products and equipment will be done without imposing customs duties.

Kislyak recalled that, for its part, the government of Australia has already made an amendment in national customs legislation regarding the import of Russian equipment and granted subsidies (100 million Australian dollars as the first tranche) for the launch-proving ground project.

The lower chamber of parliament has also ratified a similar agreement with the Kingdom of Belgium.

This agreement intends Russian-Belgian cooperation in astrophysical and planet research, earth study from space, space medicine and biology, communication, satellite navigation, research and development of unmanned and manned spacecraft and their overland infrastructure, development of carrier rockets and other space transport systems, provision of launch services.

He specified that the Volga project for creating a new oxygen-methane rocket engine by 2009 is implemented with the participation of the Belgian firm TechSpace Aero, Scientific-Industrial Association Energomash (town on Khimki near Moscow) and the Design Office Khimavtomatika (city of Voronezh).

The Belgian side is most interested in the promising developments by the Khrunichev Space Centre, now studying the package of cooperation proposals.

The deputy minister also specified that the agreement regulates the observance of the export control regime, intellectual property protection, information exchange and protection of the sides' property.

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