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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 July 2005, 17:08 GMT 18:08 UK
Russia approves new space plans
Soyuz rocket
Russia is looking to partnerships with other space agencies
The Russian government has approved a space programme for the next 10 years.

The programme provides money for the development of a reusable spacecraft known as Clipper which would replace the veteran Soyuz space capsule.

Russia also wants to start experiments to test whether it is possible for humans to make the flight to Mars.

Under the plans, six volunteers will spend 500 days in a mock space module in Moscow. Over 20 volunteers have already applied to take part.

Russia has been struggling to finance the International Space Station (ISS) in the absence of the US space shuttle fleet.

The Soyuz craft took over all trips to and from the space station following the Columbia shuttle disaster in 2003.

But the new 10-year budget, reported to be about 300 billion roubles ($10.50 billion), is less than the US spends on space in a year.

The shuttle had been due to return to operation on Wednesday but the launch has been delayed until Sunday at the earliest because of a technical fault.




SEE ALSO:
Soyuz spacecraft docks with ISS
17 Apr 05 |  Science/Nature
Russia extends space site lease
09 Jan 04 |  Europe
Inside the Baikonur cosmodrome
13 May 02 |  Europe


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