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Russia suspends joint space program with Ukraine
by Staff Writers
Moscow, Russia (XNA) Feb 06, 2015

The next commercial launch of the Dnepr space rocket has been planned for this March in the interest of a South Korean client.

Russia has suspended cooperation with Ukraine over joint space commercial program Dnepr, federal space agency Roscosmos said Monday. "The project for the launch of Dnepr carrier rockets has been suspended. The prospects of this program will be determined later, " Tass news agency quoted Roscosmos as saying.

Roscosmos deputy chief Sergei Ponomaryov said last May that Russia and Ukraine planned to continue cooperation on Dnepr despite aggravated relations.

However, Moscow seemed to change its mind five months later. Local media said, a senior official in Russia's space industry said the country's economic, political and military interests were incompatible with the continuation of the Dnepr launch program.

Likely as a response to the possibility of Russia's withdrawal, Sergei Boita, general director of Ukraine's Yuzhnoye Design Bureau, estimated the annual loss for the bureau at around 200 million U.S. dollars.

Launches of Dnepr space rocket, which is conversed from the Voyevoda inter-continental ballistic missiles, have been carried out by the Russia-Ukraine-Kazakhstan joint venture Kosmotras.

According to Kosmotras' website, it has successfully performed 20 launches since 1999. The most recent launch was conducted on Nov. 6, 2014 at the Yasny-Dombarovsky launch site in Russia's southeastern Orenburg region.

The next commercial launch of the Dnepr space rocket has been planned for this March in the interest of a South Korean client.

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