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    MOSCOW, January 9, 2004. /RIA Novosti correspondent/. Ten years ago today, the Khrunichev Centre - a major manufacturer of space and rocket equipment - was formed. The centre assembles Proton carrier rockets and Briz-M boost sections, makes Rokot and Angara carriers, and is developing Baikal recovery boosters and unified Yakhta space platforms.

    "The joint venture ILS we set up has today almost half of the world's market of commercial space services," Alexander Medvedev, director-general of the centre, told RIA Novosti. "During 2003, the ILS, which markets Proton carriers, concluded seven contracts ranging from 2004 to 2006, more than all international companies taken together," he emphasised.

    According to Medvedev, several more contracts for launching foreign spacecraft with Protons are in the pipeline. Replying to a question about the programme for Rokot launchings, Medvedev pointed out that "in 2004 we plan one commercial blast-off of the carrier of this type, and altogether our portfolio has five contracts for their launchings".

    The enterprise is continuing to develop the Angara rocket system at the Plesetsk cosmodrome. The first lift-off of the Angara-5 carrier rocket is contemplated in the first quarter of 2005. "When we complete the Angara programme, we will meet all Russia's requirements in rockets of the light, medium and heavy classes," Medvedev stressed.

    Angara carrier rockets operate on ecologically clean components - kerosene and liquid oxygen. "Modifications of this rocket share a common system of control and make it possible to orbit spacecraft weighing between two and 28 tons," the head of the centre noted.

    The centre is successfully cooperating with India. In 2003, India launched its GSLV carrier rocket with a 12 KRB boost section manufactured at the Khrunichev centre. "On orders of the Indian side, we have developed an absolutely novel cryogenic 'booster', which uses ecologically clean and highly energetic oxygen-hydrogen rocket fuel," added Medvedev.

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