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Australia plans funding for island launch complex
Posted: Sat, Jun 23, 2001, 11:05 AM ET (1505 GMT)
Aurora launch vehicle illustration (APSC) The government of Australia will provide millions of dollars to help build a launch complex for a joint Australian-Russian venture, a government official said Saturday. Science minister Nick Minchin told an Australian newspaper that the Asia Pacific Space Centre project on Christmas Island, an Australian territory just south of Indonesia, would qualify for up to A$100 million (US$52 million) in government funds as part of a program to bolster high-tech exports. The money would cover only part of the cost of the A$800 million (US$415 million) facility; the rest would come from private or other sources. The facility would be used for the Aurora launch vehicle, a new launch vehicle similar to the existing Soyuz booster. The first launch from the complex is scheduled for as early as late 2003. The project comes at a relatively poor time, given recent reports that the supply of existing launch vehicles exceeds demand by up to 40%.
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