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Russia touts space success, but U.S. runs half of satellites

RIA Novosti

04/07/2007 20:31 MOSCOW, July 4 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's space agency chief said Wednesday the U.S. is running half of the world's satellite fleet, but highlighted Russia's role in managing the international orbital station and building new pads for launch vehicles.

"Out of about 950 spacecraft, the U.S. owns over 450," Anatoly Perminov, head of the Russian Space Agency, said in an online briefing.

He highlighted the growth of third-party space launches from Russian sites and the expansion of the global launch network for Russian space rockets as Moscow's most recent successes.

"[Russia] accounts for about 40% of annual space launch activity. Of 94 new satellites orbited across the globe this year, 16 were Russian," he said.

"Russia also plays a key role at the International Space Station, providing [long-term] crews and cargo," Perminov said. He also vowed Russia would launch a Soyuz vehicle from the new pad at the Kourou space center in French Guiana in less than two years.

"We will have facilities delivered to French Guiana as early as this fall, and the first Soyuz-ST launch is planned for spring 2009," he said.

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