Russia to help China with space station

There are prospects for Russian assistance to China as it intends to launch an orbital station, Alexander Medvedev, Director-General, Khrunichev State Space Research-cum-Production Centre, said to China's President Hu Jintao, as he was visiting the centre.

Once in the assembly shop, President Hu saw a cargo unit of the International Space Station. A similar unit was made in 1998 to start ISS construction, said Mr. Medvedev. The Khrunichev centre made two units exactly like each other, for precaution's sake. "This is a standby device. We hope it will eventually appear at the station to extend its Russian part." The visitor saw Proton booster rockets the centre is manufacturing; acceleration units-the Breeze M for Protons and Breeze KM for the pioneer Rokot; and a Baikal reusable first stage for Angara booster rockets. "No manned spacecraft in the world could until now bring its first stage back to earth for more flights. The Rokot alone can do it," said Yuri Koptev, Russian Aerospace Agency Director-General.

President Hu received a gift-a set of tiny Russian rocket and space station models.

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