BAIKONUR TO CEDE MILITARY-LAUNCH PRIORITY TO PLESETSK

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BERLIN, May 13 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian military space programme can now be gradually passed from Baikonur to the Plesetsk cosmodrome, Anatoli Perminov, head of Russia's Federal Space Agency, told RIA Novosti in an interview on Thursday at the ILA'2004 aerospace exhibition, being held near Berlin.

"Only the military programme should be moved to Plesetsk. Passing others would be very harmful and dangerous", he stressed.

A new heavy booster should first be created and tested for the military space programme to be smoothly moved from the Baikonur cosmodrome, found in Kazakhstan on a long-term lease (49 years), to Plesetsk in the south of the Arkhangelsk region (north of European Russia). Perminov explained that the Angara-type carrier rocket and a launch complex for it are meant.

He noted that there are certain problems in the gradual switchover of the Russian Space Troops to the new booster. Space financing is OK but, as regards capital construction of the launch complex, financing for it is very much lagging behind, Perminov said.

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