SOUTH KOREAN PRESIDENT VISITS KHRUNUCHEV SPACE CENTRE

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MOSCOW, September 22 (RIA Novosti) - South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun has visited the Khrunichev State Space Scientific-Industrial Centre.

As reported by the RIA Novosti correspondent, the president inspected the dummy of the Mir orbital cluster (orbited in 1986; dumped in ocean in 2001) and the functional cargo module FGB-2 planned for launch in 2007 to complement the Russian segment of the International Space Station.

The South Korean leader was shown units of the Proton and Angara carrier rockets, the acceleration units Briz-M and Briz-KM, booster stage Baikal. He also inspected the shop where small communication and monitoring satellites are made.

In the space centre, the South Korean president was accompanied by its general director Alexander Medvedev and Anatoli Perminov, head of the Federal Space Agency.

Among the documents signed on Tuesday, September 21, in the presence of Roh Moo-hyun and Russian President Vladimir Putin was an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in research and use of space for peaceful ends.

In the joint declaration adopted by the two leaders on the same day, they welcome the conclusion of the space cooperation agreement.

Under it, Russia will begin training South Korea's first cosmonaut to be launched to the International Space Station in 2007.

As RIA Novosti has learnt, on Tuesday Perminov and South Korean Science and Technology Minister O Min had talks in the Federal Space Agency.

"Many years ago, our country became interested in the project of the Russian orbital station Mir. It was then that the desire was aroused to have our own cosmonaut flying a Russian rocket", he said.

The sides have agreed to enlarge their cooperation, prepare by late 2004 a joint project for launch of a Korean cosmonaut and begin its realisation in the middle of 2005.

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