Thursday, March 31, 2011

Israel, Russia Sign Space Cooperation Agreement

Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and the Israel Space Agency on Sunday signed an agreement to increase cooperation in space exploration.

"The agreement, which was signed in the presence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, enhances cooperation between the Israeli and Russian space agencies in the fields of space research, observation, navigation, medicine and biology in space, research in advanced materials and launchings," said a press release from the Israeli prime minister's office.

The Head of Roscosmos, Anatoly Perminov, said that bilateral cooperation in space is at the initial stage, and required efforts to establish contacts between Russian and Israeli organizations in the space-missile industry.

"Our countries already have a positive experience of mutually advantageous partnership in the space sphere. It will suffice to say that five Israeli spacecrafts have been put into orbit with Russian launch vehicles," Perminov said, as cited by the ITAR-TASS news agency.

He also said that Russia now produces the telecom spacecraft Amos-5 for an Israeli customer.

According to Roscosmos, the agreement will allow to create organizational and legal grounds for the development of mutually advantageous cooperation connected with research and the use of space technologies for peaceful purposes.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the combination of Russia's developed industry and his country's advanced technology "could provide major benefits to both countries."

"One year ago, I told him [Technology Minister Daniel Hershovitz] that I thought that Israel's most natural partner for cooperation is Russia, which has a major infrastructure for space operations," he said.

"We have focused technology, including - I believe - six satellites in space. Soon we will have a dozen," Netanyahu added.

The Israeli Space Agency already has cooperation agreements with space agencies of the US, France, Germany, Canada, India, Ukraine, the Netherlands and the European Union and also prepares for signing agreements with Brazil and South Korea. The Israeli government adopted a five-year programme last year for the development of civil space.

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