Boeing Signs Russia Deal
Apr. 13, 2001
MOSCOW (AP) _ Boeing Co. and the Russian aviation and space agency on Friday signed a broad agreement on cooperation in space launches, joint development of a new jetliner and research on commercial uses of space.
``We have begun our journey together with small steps and achieved some very great things,'' Boeing chief executive Philip Condit told reporters after the signing. ``The agreement we signed today opens the road to achieve even greater things in many areas in space and in aviation.''
Condit and Russian Aerospace Agency chief Yuri Koptev wouldn't comment on financial details of the agreement.
Boeing and the Russian agency agreed, among other things, to conduct a feasibility study on commercial uses of the Russian-built FGB-2 module.
The FGB-2 was a backup for the Functional Cargo Block, also called Zarya, which was launched in November 1998 to became the first segment of the International Space Station.
The Russian Khrunichev company, which built both modules, says the FGB-2 is 70 percent complete and only needs specialized equipment for commercial work.
The agreement signed Friday also envisages studying prospects of converting the Zenith booster used for the international Sea Launch project for launches from the Baikonur cosmodrome in the former Soviet republic of Kazakstan.
Sea Launch is a Boeing-led international consortium, including Russia, that launches satellites into orbit from a converted oil platform.
``What we've agreed to do is to look at the opportunities and try to take advantage of the capabilities that are in the FGB and in the Zenith launch vehicle and find the best commercial answers,'' Condit said.
Boeing and Russian experts also agreed to work jointly on the development of a new short-range jetliner and marketing it in Russia and abroad. He and Koptev wouldn't discuss the details of the project.
The agreement also covers the expansion of joint space research, Boeing's purchases of Russian titanium and other products and the development of Russian polar air routes.
Boeing opened a research center in Moscow in 1993, and now employs more than 500 scientists and engineers in seven Russian cities.