Russia Likely to Halt Joint Space Program with Ukraine, Kazakhstan
    2012-05-22 16:01:40     Xinhua       Web Editor: yangyang66

Russia is "very likely" to halt its joint Dnepr space program with Ukraine and Kazakhstan due to commercial and environmental concerns, federal space agency Roscosmos said Tuesday.

The Dnepr program has been using Russia's decommissioned PC-20 (Satana SS-18 by NATO classification) intercontinental ballistic missiles as rocket-carriers.

"In the coming month, the Military-Industrial Commission will consider a question about expediency of the Dnepr program. The Defense Ministry believes the program becomes economically lean and environmentally unsafe," Roscosmos told the Interfax news agency.

Besides, the Defense Ministry insists that Dnepr plunders resources out of the ministry's budget, according to Interfax.

Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan started the Dnepr joint program in 1999, with Russia contributing its PC-20 missiles for launches of space vehicles.

The missiles have been decommissioned after 20 years on military service and renamed Dnepr for use in peaceful purposes.

Since the start of the program, 17 rockets have been successfully launched from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan and the Yasny launch base in Russia's Orenburg region, orbiting 62 space vehicles of 12 countries.

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