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European-Russian deal opens door for Soyuz launches from Kourou
Posted: Tue, Jul 3, 2001, 10:04 AM ET (1404 GMT)
Soyuz launch (Energia file photo) An agreement signed Monday between a European company and Rosaviakosmos raises the possibility that Russian Soyuz rockets may one day launch from the spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. The European Aeronautic, Defense, and Space Company (EADS) said in a statement announcing the agreement that it "supports the Russian idea" of launching Soyuz vehicles from Kourou, the launch site currently used by the Ariane family of boosters. No further word was given regarding what EADS, parent company of Astrium, will do to further efforts to approve Soyuz launches from Kourou. The EADS-Rosaviakosmos agreement also includes provisions for research into reentry and propulsion technologies as well as potential Russian participation in Galileo, a European version of the American Global Positioning System. The space segments of the agreement were a small part of a much larger deal whereby Russian companies will manufacture components for European Airbus airliners and participate in the development of a new military transport aircraft.
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