Space: April 24, 2000

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Russian President-elect Putin announced that Russia would continue to fund the Mir space station through 2001. This gave the Russian space agency something to celebrate, but infuriated NASA, which has insisted that the cash-starved Russian space program put all of its effort into the new International Space Station. Putin said that his government would also back the International Space Station, but this announcement did not mollify NASA or the US Congress. The US has long complained that the Russian space agency has failed to deliver critical parts for the International Station, and has diverted money the US sent for such work to Mir. Putin declared that Russia's national production of space equipment had priority over production for international projects. Putin said that the Service Module Zvesda (scheduled for launch in April 98) would finally be launched on 12 July.--Stephen V Cole


 


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