Russian-American Fifth Live-in Expedition Crew Gets Awards

The Russian-American crew of the fifth live-in expedition on the International Space Station has received memorial awards. The official ceremony was held in the Stellar Town on Friday after laying flowers to the Yuri Gagarin monument. Crew commander Valery Korzun, cosmonaut Sergei Treschev and American astronaut Peggy Whitson received awards from Russia's Energia company and the United States' National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The crew spent 185 days in the orbit and 9 hours 43 minutes in outer space. During the flight, which began on June 6 and ended on December 7, 2002, the crew staged a series of research and technological experiments - a unique photo base was created within the framework of the Uragan research experiment, radiation safety and biological experiments were staged and lettuce grown.

Nikolai Moiseev, first deputy general director of Rosaviakosmos (the Russian Space Agency), greeted the crew. "The crew met all the goals set them", he said. He stressed that, despite the tragedy of the Columbia shuttle, "onward movement must be continued".

Earlier, NASA chief Sean O'Keefe said that flights to the ISS may be resumed in the end of April. The involvement of Russia in American space projects is now being actively discussed. The only snag for joint work is the American administration's ban on spending NASA resources for the development of the Russian aerospace sector.

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