[FPSPACE] AP: Kiselyov on "Still No Gov't Funds for ISS"
Mon, 7 Aug 2000 08:52:30 EDT
Russia Space Launch Was in Doubt
MOSCOW (AP) - The launch of a key Russian module of the International Space
Station last month was in so much doubt until the last moment that the
government froze funding for other work on the station, an official said
After repeated delays, the Russian-made Zvezda module was put into orbit in
mid-July, and successfully linked up with two modules of the station already
But the head of the Khrunichev company, which manufactured the component,
said the government was extremely nervous about the launch and docking of the
``Right up to the docking of the Russian service module Zvezda with the ISS,
financing for the further development of the Russian segment of the station
was virtually frozen, because it was not possible to foresee how the launch
and docking would go,'' Khrunichev director Anatoly Kiselyov told a news
conference, according to the Interfax news agency.
The 24-ton cylindrical Zvezda - which means ``star'' in Russian - is crucial
for the station, providing living quarters, steering controls and
``Now that we managed our task despite unbelievably difficult financial
conditions, we hope that funds ... will start flowing,'' Kiselyov said.
The schedule of construction of the next two Russian components will depend
on how regularly the government provides funds, he said.
A Progress cargo ship carrying supplies to the station launched aboard a
Russian Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Central Asia on Sunday.
The unmanned ship was carrying fuel, scientific instruments and personal
supplies in preparation for the arrival of the first crew in October.
With the docking of Zvezda, which allows the station to be crewed,
construction is expected to speed up. The International Space Station is
scheduled to be complete in 2005.