Until shuttle flights are resumed, the European Space Agency (ESA) is unable to launch Columbus Orbiting Facility, a research facility, and dock it with the International Space Station (ISS), Jorg Feustel-Buechl, the head of ESA human spaceflight, at an international symposium devoted to the 15th anniversary of Russian-European cooperation in the human spaceflight.
"Columbus will be ready by the middle of 2006 which is of great importance for us, as we have a special research program for it," Mr. Feustel-Buechl noted.
But, "since we have no shuttle, we can not launch Columbus and dock it with the ISS," he said.
Columbus is undergoing a number of tests on the ground.
France is used to terminating large-scale contracts, as that was the case of the Russian-French deal on Mistral helicopter carriers