The Fate of the International Space Station Will Be Discussed in September

The questions of the further development and the use of the International Space Station (ISS) will be discussed by sixteen member-countries of this project in September. As the Russian Aviation and Space Agency reported, this conclusion has been drawn by the head of this Agency, Yury Koptev, and the head of the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Sean O'Keefe at their negotiations in Moscow this Monday.

The Russian Aviation and Space Agency specified that beginning with September it would be clear how the smaller crew of the ISS manages to maintain the station in a working condition and whether the station receives the necessary amount of cargoes. By that time the Russian freight space ship Progress will bring to the station fuel, foodstuffs and water for the cosmonauts of Expedition Seven.

Other questions that will be discussed in September include the maintaining of the station in a working condition till the spring next year with the help of Russian space ships, because the flights of the shuttles might be stopped till that time. "It is supposed that the remaining American space shuttles will be not only thoroughly examined by that time but also partially modernised," the Russian Aviation and Space Agency said.

Yury Koptev said that the question of financing the construction of additional Russian space ships by the United States was not raised at today's negotiations. "For the time being there is an agreement with the government of the Russian Federation that additional sums will be allocated from the Russian budget," he pointed out.

The head of the Russian Aviation and Space Agency said that at the present time NASA's "hands are tied" by the decision of US Congress which hampers such financing. As to the European Space Agency, "they believe," according to Yury Koptev, that "it is quite enough that they pay certain sums for the flights of their astronauts to the ISS."

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