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Russian official suggests mothballing ISS
Posted: Thu, Sep 26, 2002, 7:53 AM ET (1153 GMT)
ISS illustration (NASA) A leading Russian official said Wednesday that the International Space Station should be temporarily abandoned due to budget constraints. Former cosmonaut Valeri Ryumin of RSC Energia told the Russian newspaper Trud that there currently isn't enough money to build the Progress and Soyuz spacecraft needed to support station operations. Ryumin said that there is only enough funding for two Progress spacecraft and one Soyuz spacecraft next year. Energia has run up 1 billion rubles (US$32 million) in debt because the Russian government has not paid its share for ISS operations. Ryumin said that he has submitted his proposal to Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA's space station program manager; there has been no comment from NASA officials.
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