MOSCOW, February 5 (RIA Novosti) - Russia and its
International Space Station partners have an oral agreement to
continue using the orbiter until 2020, the president of leading
Russian spacecraft maker RSC Energia said on Thursday.
"The ISS partners have not yet signed any documents, but
verbally we have already settled the initiative [to extend the
station's use]," Vitaly Lopota said at a news conference in
Russia's partners in the International Space Station
program are the United States, Canada, Japan, and the European
Noting that in May the station's crew will be expanded
from three to six astronauts, Lopota said Russia would not
change the number of scheduled space flights because of the
financial crisis. A record 39 space launches are planned for
2009, as opposed to last year's 27.
"All of the launches that we planned for this year have
been set," he said. "Everything that needs to be completed this
year will be completed."