Portuguese press report on Russia’s new space plans

The main Portuguese newspapers report on Russia’s new plans for a sequel to the Mir space station, as a national project separate from the International Space Station. Member of Parliament Ilya Klebanov is reported as stating that Russia is at present investigating the model of space craft to be used. “ The first job to be done in finding a successor for Mir is in the ideology and concept of the station. The type of station to be created will be defined within one year”, he said. Great attention has been given in the Portuguese and western press in general to the feeling of disappointment felt by Russians about the need to terminate the Mir project after 15 years, even though Mir was never intended to be eternal. 40 years after Yuri Gagarin broke all scientific frontiers by becoming the first man in space, a date which was commemorated as much outside the frontiers of Russia as within, the Russian space programme is very highly regarded by scientists and general populations alike. NASA projects such as landing men on the Moon and the invention of Space Shuttles may grab the headlines at certain moments in time but nobody denies that the pioneering work was made by the Soyuz programme. A future manned Russian trip to Mars was reported this week to be planned for 2016.

TIMOTHY BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru LISBON