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European experts may design cockpit of Russian spacecraft

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ZHUKOVSKY (Moscow region), August 16 (RIA Novosti) - Experts from the European Space Agency (ESA) may design the cockpit of a new Russian manned spaceship, the Clipper, the head of Russia's leading rocket producer said Tuesday.

"Talks on the issue are under way, but the final decision must be made at the council of ESA member states at the end of this year," said Nikolai Sevastyanov, the head of the Energia Rocket and Space Corporation.

A mock-up of the Clipper is on display at the MAKS 2005 aerospace show in Zhukovsky, outside Moscow.

Anatoly Perminov, the head of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos), told President Vladimir Putin that the spaceship would make its first flight early in the next decade.

According to Yury Koptev, the head of the Russian Industry and Energy Ministry's department for space and aviation, the Clipper is a joint product from Russia's aviation and space rocket industries. Energia and the Sukhoi aviation company are cooperating to create the spacecraft. As distinct from its foreign counterparts, Koptev continued, the manned spaceship can carry a six-man crew. It will be capable of flying around the Earth, to the International Space Station and to the Moon and back.

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