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    RUSSIA TO PERFORM ALL PILOTED SPACE FLIGHTS FROM BAIKONUR

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    MOSCOW, February 17, 2004. (RIA Novosti correspondent Alexander Kovalev). All the piloted flights to the International Space Station on Russian spacecraft will be performed from Baikonur, the former Soviet launch site, which Russia rents from Kazakhstan, head of the Russian Aerospace Agency Yuri Koptev said on Tuesday.

    According to him, piloted flights from Kourou space center in French Guiana are still not on the agenda.

    This issue was raised by Russia's European partners, however, "a lot of problems should be solved for the implementation of this project," Koptev noted.

    In his words, launches from Kourou imply that a long haul of the flight passes above the ocean and the rescue of the crew in an emergency becomes problematic.

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