Russia, Japan to draft space cooperation agreement
BAIKONUR SPACE CENTER (Kazakhstan), December 20 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will draft an agreement on space cooperation, the Roscosmos chief said Sunday.
"Yesterday I met with the Japanese agency's head to draft an inter-agency agreement on a joint space program," Anatoly Perminov told journalists.
Perminov said "scientific experiments could be enhanced" with the appearance of Japan's Kibo laboratory module on the International Space Station.
"The Japanese are gradually getting used to flying on board Soyuz spaceships. For the first time a Japanese astronaut will spend almost 200 days on the ISS. Japan will increase its presence at the station," he said.
Soichi Noguchi is Japan's first astronaut to make his flight to the ISS on board a Russian Soyuz spaceship. The blastoff of the Soyuz TMA-17 is scheduled for early Monday.
The crew also comprises NASA's Timothy Creamer and Russia's Oleg Kotov. On December 23, they will join Russia's Maxim Surayev and NASA's Jeffrey Williams who have been on the ISS since early October.
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