The European Space Agency (ESA) and the Russian Aerospace Agency (Rosaviacosmos) signed a provisional contract on a spaceflight by Holland's Andre Kuipers, reports Rosaviacosmos.
The Dutch astronaut is to crusade to the International Space Station (ISS) in the first six months of 2004 after this autumn's weeklong stay in the station by Spaniard Pedro Duque who is now being trained at the Star City near Moscow.
The Russian agency also notes that the contract on Kuipers mission has been signed by the flight's technical executives. Final endorsement is expected after a research programme to be performed by the Dutchman on board the International Space Station is compiled.
Rosaviacosmos has reported that the European Space Agency will pay $12 million for each of the two astronauts who will reach the international space station on board the Russian piloted spaceship Soyuz TMA, work according to their plan of research and then return to the Earth on board a Russian spaceship.