The Russian Finance Ministry has agreed to redistribute money to ensure the launching of Russian carrier spaceships to the International Space Station, Head of the Russian Aviation and Space Agency, Rosaviakosmos, has reported.
It has been decided to transfer 1.3 bln roubles (over 40 mln dollars) allocated for financing the International Space Station from the 3rd-4th quarter of 2003 to the 2nd quarter, he said.
Moreover, "the Russian Finance Ministry has agreed to increase the financing of the International Space Station programme in the 2004 budget and allocate additional 2.8 bln roubles in August-September.
In the near future, Russia must launch 4 piloted and 10 cargo spacecraft, the head of the Russian Aviation and Space Agency pointed out. "If the ISS budget had any guaranteed sums, there would be no problems in operating the Station's Russian segment," stated Koptev, who participated in the government meeting on Thursday.
According to Koptev, by 2007-2008 Russia must form its independent segment at the International Space Station. If by that time the government fails to provide all the necessary money for the segment's full equipment and the construction of passenger and cargo space ships, "Russia will only act as a carrier at the International Space Station," he pointed out.
Russia's place can be taken by Japanese, European and American space structures, the head of the Russian Aviation and Space Agency stated.
Near the United Nations Glass Palace in New York, there is a metallic sculpture entitled "Evil Defeated by Good", representing Saint George transfixing a dragon with his lance. It was donated by the USSR in 1990 to celebrate the INF Treaty concluded with the USA in 1987