Russians May Launch Ukrainian to ISS

International Space Station

Roscosmos PAO reports that Ukraine could be the next country to visit the International Space Station:

Russia and Ukraine have agreed that they may send a Ukrainian cosmonaut on a Russian spaceship to participate in long-term operations on the Russian segment of the International Space Station (ISS), Roscosmos Head Anatoly Perminov told news media.

According to him, it was Ukrainian proposal which implies training of national cosmonauts in Roscosmos’ Gagarin Training Center. However, the ‘costly’ initiative still has to be discussed with the ISS international partners, Perminov stated.

The Ukrainian National Space Agency will also work through all the aspects of the project, which haven’t been specified at the current stage.

Perminov was recently in Ukraine for discussions with Ukrainian National Space Agency Director Yury Alekseev. According to RBC:

Roscosmos Head visited National Spacecraft Control and Test Center in Evpatoria, Crimea, which is planned to be used for control of the Phobos-Grunt space station slated for launch to Martian moon in 2011.

The agenda covers the topics to be discussed further on during the Russian-Ukrainian Intergovernmental Committee on economical evolution. This includes cooperation in utilization of the GLONASS navigation system, under the agreement signed by the space agencies in May 2010.

RIA Novosti reports that the cooperation between Russia and Ukraine on GLONASS — the Russian equivalent of U.S. Global Positioning System — could include signals that have military applications, as has been done with India:

Russia is ready to consider giving Ukraine access to high-precision targeting signals provided by the Glonass satellite navigation system, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said on Wednesday.

“If the Ukrainian government shows interest in gaining access to a [Glonass] high-precision signal, we will readily consider this issue,” Ivanov told reporters in Moscow….

Ivanov said Russia has been successfully cooperating with India on the use of the Glonass system for defense purposes after Moscow and New Delhi signed a relevant agreement in March.

The efforts are part of a broader push by Russia and Ukraine to cooperate in economic and technological areas. In a speech, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said:

“Mr Azarov, ladies and gentlemen, the agenda of today’s meeting of the Committee on Economic Cooperation covers almost every issue related to our bilateral cooperation.

I fully agree with Mr Azarov that we have recently witnessed a substantial growth in trade – by almost 80% or, to be more precise, by 77% from January to September of this year. We have stabilized our relations on energy issues and we know that the Ukrainian government is making the best possible use of additional resources, primarily for resolving social issues.

The main issue on the agenda is not even about the volume of our trade but a change in its quality. We must modernise our economies to create new high-paying jobs and we are fully capable of doing so.

We know what difficulties weighed down on our economies during the crisis. We saw a real drop. Now we are recovering at a good pace, but we still need to concentrate on high-technology industries.

If we are talking about energy, then we must first speak of the nuclear power industry, and we have made progress in this area. We have made economic agreements to reinforce our earlier achievements and to create the conditions for further success. I’m referring both to fuel supplies and the construction of nuclear power plants in Ukraine.

The same applies to the aircraft industry, shipbuilding and space exploration – this is the future of our cooperation in the next few years.

It goes without saying that we will be interested in consolidating our cooperation on existing projects and creating conditions for extending cooperation to new areas. The Business Forum opens tomorrow and we’ll do all we can to support the performance of the business community and create conditions for cooperation. I would like to thank you for this opportunity to meet and discuss all of these key issues today. Thank you”.