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Moscow Space Talks Bring Lift-Off A Step Closer

that takes care of the paperwork - now the money

Canberra - Jul 24, 2002
A recent bilateral agreement between Australia and Russia on technology safeguards for the Christmas Island spaceport project, to be run by the Asia Pacific Space Centre, has moved a step closer after three days of talks in Moscow.

The Christmas Island project will bring major economic benefits to both countries with commercial launches expected to commence in 2004. It will also be the most important trade and investment deal between Russia and Australia to date.

Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane said he and the Director General of the Russian Aviation and Space Agency, Mr Yuri Koptev, had agreed to a set of principles that will guide the final drafting of an inter-governmental Technology Safeguards Agreement (TSA) which is an essential element of the project proceeding.

Both sides will now seek confirmation from their respective Governments to the proposed arrangements before finalizing treaties.

"The Christmas Island space project is unique. It will be the first time that wholly Russian launch vehicles will be deployed outside the former Soviet Union and that obviously poses some distinctive challenges for both Governments.

"To move forward we needed to strike a balance between concerns in relation to Australian sovereignty and Russian and Australian obligations under the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR)," said Mr Macfarlane.

Mr Macfarlane said he was pleased with the progress made in Moscow and that it would be possible to give both Governments the confidence that their commitments under the MTCR would be met and that Russian intellectual property and Australian sovereignty would be protected.

"There are a few steps left to take -- there has to be a final tick-off from both sides and it will be up to the developer of the space centre to finalize arrangements for construction of the critical facilities."

"But we have reached an in-principle agreement on the way forward and it is now up to officials from both sides to develop the formal texts that will form the final inter-governmental agreement," he said.

Once signed the finalized TSA will have Treaty status and will be subject to parliamentary scrutiny.

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Ariane 5 Set To Loft GEO Double July 5
Kourou - Jun 27, 2002
The launch of Arianespace's eighth mission of the year is on schedule for July 5, when a heavy-lift Ariane 5 is to loft a dual telecommunications satellite payload.

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