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Agreement signed for Soyuz launches from Kourou
Posted: Tue, Apr 12, 2005, 8:45 AM ET (1245 GMT)
Soyuz launch (Energia file photo) Arianespace and the Russian space agency Roskosmos have signed an agreement that confirms plans to launch Soyuz rockets from Arianespace's launch site in French Guiana. The agreement, signed in Moscow on Monday, covers the infrastructure upgrades at the Kourou spaceport to accommodate the Soyuz; it also covers the development of an upgraded version of the booster, the Soyuz 2-1b. Soyuz launches, serving commercial and government customers, will start in 2008. The agreement comes after European and Russian officials completed a series of intergovernmental agreements last month covering the financing of the program. Arianespace sees the Soyuz as filling a gap between the small Vega launch vehicle, scheduled to being launches in the next few years, and the existing heavier Ariane 5.
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