Rosoboronexport chief: Russia may lose ISS

Russia may lose the International Space Station as a large orbital research site, Rosoboronexport's head Yuri Koptev opined at a Thursday briefing at the MAKS-2003 international aerospace show. It is being held in Zhukovski near Moscow.

"Assembly of the ISS began with Russian segments, the airlock and the service module, which has become its heart. Then, Russia was faced with financial problems, which put to doubt the building of new segments", Koptev recalled.

As earlier planned, Russia was to have five instead of three segments. One of them was meant for research work, he specified.

"The United States, the European Space Agency and Japan are building their own modules for building up the ISS. Some of them are in pre-launch readiness. No Russian modules are among them", Koptev stressed.

"If we do not build our modules in three years to come, Russia will become a country only servicing the station, instead of doing space exploration and conducting unique technical experiments in the orbit", he continued.

Simultaneously, the 2004 budget allocates a bit more funds on space work than was the case in 2003, Koptev noted with satisfaction. "But the allocations are still not enough to build additional Russian modules", he stressed.

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