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Russian space firm signs 14 deals for commercial rocket launches

RIA Novosti

15/07/2007 14:25 PLESETSK, (northern Russia), July 15 (RIA Novosti) - A leading Russian space company said Sunday it had signed 14 deals for the commercial launches of its Proton carrier rockets.

The Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center produces Proton boosters that are widely used for the commercial launches of foreign spacecraft and within the framework of the International Space Station, the world's sole orbiter.

Vladimir Nesterov, the head of the Krunichev center, said his company had formed a portfolio of Proton commercial launches for 2007-2009 and started a program of orders for 2010 but gave no price details.

The Khrunichev space center considerably increased prices for launch services last year to cover the prime cost of products and make production profitable.

Currently, European customers, especially the European Space Agency, are especially interested in the commercial launches of Rokot carrier rockets that are also produced by the company, Nesterov said.

"So far, there are more orders than we can fulfill," Nesterov said at a ceremony to mark 50 years since the establishment of the Plesetsk space center in northern Russia.

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