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Russia to launch international space lab in 2011

RIA Novosti

23/03/2007 16:39 MOSCOW, March 23 (RIA Novosti) - Russia will launch an astrophysical space lab in 2011 from the Baikonur or Kourou (French Guiana) space center, the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos) said Friday.

"Roskosmos head Anatoly Perminov met in Moscow today with the head of the German Space Agency Ludwig Baumgarten. Germany plans to strengthen its space operation, including [through cooperation] with Russia," Igor Panarin said.

He said Germany will participate in the Spectrum-RG space lab research program and build a space telescope, eRosita.

Known previously as Spektr-Rentgen-Gamma, the project was later transformed into the Spectrum-RG/eRosita/Lobster program.

Roskosmos said earlier the observatory will be placed on an ideal equatorial orbit (in terms of minimal background radiation) at an altitude of 580-600 km, below the earth's radiation belt with a zero angle achieved by a launch from the space center in Kourou using a Russian Soyuz-2 booster.

Panarin said the lab with have a payload of up to 1,500 kilograms and a life span of five years.

He said other participants in the project include the UK, Italy, Turkey and Kyrgyzstan.

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