Russia and the United States could have new major space exploration projects, Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) chief Igor Komarov said. He had recently met with the NASA administrator.
"Fundamental research and Moon and Mars missions are very expensive. We can solve many more tasks if we act together and save our budgets. There is a common understanding that international cooperation should go on," Komarov said in an interview published by the newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta on Tuesday.
He said he had discussed the issue with NASA Administrator Charles Bolden at the Baikonur Space Center.
"Besides, deep space exploration and protection of the Earth from space threats are tasks to be solved by entire humanity," Komarov added.
The conversation with the U.S. colleague focused on future projects as the International Space Station (ISS) "would not last forever," he said.
As to the Roscosmos-NASA decision to extend the ISS project until 2024, Komarov said, "The station still has a potential, and it would be right to continue its operation until 2024. This is a common opinion."
"Charles Bolden and I will tell the governments of Russia and the United States about this. We have also discussed the matter with the European Space Agency, and their opinion on longer operation of the Station is positive. They will consider this option in 2016," Komarov said.
He added that the U.S. colleagues had proposed to involve industrial majors in ISS experiments.
"We will be eyeing this possibility as well. I am not sure that all big corporations know about types of experiments the ISS is capable of. Yet experiments are possible in the field of medicine, biology, chemistry and metallurgy," Komarov said.
Meanwhile, a source familiar with the situation told that Roscosmos and NASA do not intend to build another joint space station in a near-Earth orbit after 2024. "Following the completion of the International Space Station (ISS) program in 2024, the space agencies of the two countries are not going to build a new station in a near-Earth orbit. However, they are discussing the possibility of cooperation in implementing a project to create a new space station orbiting the Moon," he said.
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