Officials of the European and Russian space agencies have toasted a deal in Moscow to step up cooperation. The space agencies have agreed to join forces in the development and use of launch vehicles. Russian Space Agency chief Anatoly Perminov said: “Such cooperation agreements have become more common – especially in the area of space – and the time had come for the two agencies to sign the agreement.”
The deal could see Soyuz rockets launched from the Kourou base in French Guyana by 2007. And could – in the long-term – lead to Russian membership of the European Space Agency. It will certainly increase Russia’s involvement in providing commercial satellite services. Russia’s cash-strapped agency has worked with the European Space Agency in recent years, launching satellites and carrying astronauts on research missions to the International Space Station.