Space exploration is one of the most promising spheres of cooperation between Russia and the European Union, general director of the Russian airspace agency Rosaviakosmos Yuri Koptev told journalists when negotiations with EU commissioner for research Philipp Busquin and other representatives of the European Commission ended in Brussels on Wednesday.
In his turn, Busquin pointed out that the European Union regards Russia as a key partner in this field in the future and invited it to participate in consultations within the framework of the outer space "green book", which should end with the elaboration of a plan of action for the European Union in the development of space industry by the end of the year.
The European Union wants to become a self-sufficient player in the world space field and is interested in cooperation with Russia which has rich experience in space exploration. The European Commission, as the EU executive body, declared it is a political and coordinating participant in the development of the European space industry and has a big budget for research and designs to be made.
According to Koptev and Busquin, an agreement was reached on a full and equal participation of Russia in the EU-financed projects of the 6th scientific research framework programme (2003-2006).
The sides agreed to concentrate attention on three main projects of cooperation: the creation of the European satellite navigation system GALILEO compatible with a similar Russian system GLONASS; the elaboration of the European programme for the global monitoring of the environment and security, GMES; and production of the launching systems.
Koptev reported that within the framework of the last project it is supposed that launches of the Russian spaceships Soyuz from the Courou space base in the French Guiana situated near the equator will begin in 2006.