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. Europe To Pay Russia To Build Soyuz Pad At Kourou: Russia

Park it over near the Vega Pad, down the road from Ariane Five.

Moscow (AFP) Feb 5, 2004
The European Union will pay Russian space companies 121 million euros (152 million dollars) to fund the launch of Russian Soyuz vessels from the European Space Agency (ESA) launch complex in French Guiana, a Russian space official said late Wednesday.

The first tranche of the payment has already been transferred to Russia, the RIA Novosti news agency quoted the unidentified official as saying.

"The first tranche has already arrived (in Russia), the money has been distributed," said the official with Russia's space agency Rosaviakosmos, although he failed to specify the amount of that first tranche.

Part of the 121 million euros will be used to modernize the Soyuz launchers, under the denomination Soyuz-ST, the official said.

France and Russia signed last November an agreement opening up Russian access to the ESA launch complex at Kourou from 2006.

The agreement gave the legal green light to using the French overseas territory for ESA-Russian cooperation.

ESA ministers agreed to the scheme in May last year. It provides for the building of a new pad at Kourou, at a cost of 314 million euros (361 million dollars), from which to launch the veteran Soyuz rocket.

France has agreed to contribute half of the costs, with other ESA member states to pick up the rest of the tab.

Arianespace, which operates ESA's launchers, will tie up with Russia's Starsem company to use the Soviet-era Soyuz for launching medium-sized payloads to help meet a gap in its own marketing range.

The Soyuz -- the workhorse of space, having been used on some 1,700 satellite launches or manned space missions -- is expected to substitute for the Ariane-4 rocket, which was phased out last year.

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Zenith Sends Another One To Orbit
Korolev - Jan 21, 2004
A Zenith 3SL Integrated Launch Vehicle (ILV) was launched earlier this month on January 11th at 04:13 UTC from the floating Odyssey Launch Platform (LP) of the Sea Launch Rocket and Space Complex located in the Pacific Ocean in the equator area at 154 W.

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