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India, Russia to jointly work on manned space missions

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh welcomes President of Russian Federation Dmitry A Medvedev as President Pratibha Patil looks on during a ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi on Friday. PTI Photo

NEW DELHI (PTI): India and Russia announced on Friday to undertake joint manned space missions in the future. An agreement to this effect was signed during the maiden visit of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev here.

A Memorandum of Understanding on joint activities in the field of human spaceflight programme was signed by the Indian Space Research Organisation Chairman G Madhavan Nair and Head of the Federal Space Agency of the Russian Federation Anatoly Perminov.

Medvedev and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also directed Nair and Perminov to intensify ongoing cooperation and identify new areas for further cooperation. With the successful launch of Chandrayaan-1, India and Russia are now planning a sequel which involves landing a rover on the moon.

The two sides have already launched technical discussions for the Chandrayaan-2 project which was signed during Singh's visit to Moscow last year. ISRO has said it aims to put a human being in orbit by 2015 and was looking at designing a capsule which can carry two astronauts onboard a GSLV rocket.

Last year, ISRO had sent to space a capsule carrying some experiments which was recovered after keeping in orbit for 22 days. The Space Recovery Experiment was seen as a technology demonstrator for future manned missions.

Russia and India are also expected to collaborate on launch vehicles for future space missions. The two sides will also set up the India-Russia Centre for Technology Transfer.

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