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Russia, Australia reach spaceport deal
Posted: Wed, Dec 19, 2001, 8:49 AM ET (1349 GMT)
Aurora launch vehicle illustration (APSC) Russian and Australian officials reached an agreement Tuesday that clears the way for the development of a new spaceport that will launch Russian rockets. The agreement will permit the launch of Russian boosters from Christmas Island, an Australian territory in the Indian Ocean near Indonesia. The Asia Pacific Space Center (APSC) plans to build the spaceport to support the launch of the Aurora, a version of the Soyuz rocket. Some details of the agreement, including guarantees on the number of launches and technology transfer provisions, still need to be worked out, Rosaviakosmis chief Yuri Koptev said Tuesday. APSC must also raise an estimated A$800 million (US$410 million) to build the spaceport, of which the Australian government is providing no more than A$100 million (US$51 million). First launch from Christmas Island is planned for 2004.
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