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    ROSAVIAKOSMOS AND ESA TO DISCUSS BUILDING RUSSIAN LAUNCH SYSTEM AT KOUROU

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    MOSCOW, FEBRUARY 2. /RIA NOVOSTI / -- Rosaviakosmos (the Russian Space Agency) general director Yuri Koptev has arrived at Paris for talks with managers of the European Space Agency.

    "The visit is held for consultations preceding a ministerial session of the ESA supreme council on February 4", Konstantin Kreidenko, official spokesman for Rosaviakosmos, said to RIA Novosti.

    Koptev plans to discuss with the ESA managers the recent space initiatives of the United States President George W.Bush on the discontinuation since 2010 of shuttle flights to the ISS, lunar and martian exploration projects.

    In addition, Yuri Koptev will consider the building of a Russian launch system for Soyuz carrier rockets from the Kourou space centre in French Guiana.

    Timeframe for sending the new European transport spaceship ATV to the International Space Station will also be in discussion.

    There are also plans to discuss the launch to the ISS of another manned crew with Dutch astronaut Andre Kauspers.

    The official spokesman for Rosaviakosmos said that for his contribution to international space exploration work Yuri Koptev would be decorated with the Legion of Honour.

    Koptev's return to Moscow is expected on February 5.

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