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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Lockheed Helps Space Center

U.S. aerospace giant Lockheed Corp. has advanced $17 million to Russia's Khrunichev Space Center to launch the first stage of an international space station project.

The so-called Alpha project, approved earlier this year by President Boris Yeltsin and U.S. President Bill Clinton, is designed to take advantage of some of the most advanced areas of Russian space technology. Its goal is to launch an orbiting laboratory that permanently houses astronauts in space.

Anatoly Kiselyev, Khrunichev's general director, told Interfax that the companies now plan to put together a more extensive contract worth "several hundreds of millions of dollars."

A Khrunichev official said contractors at the center and more than 60 Russian and Ukrainian factories have a deal to make and assemble the cargo unit for the Alpha project.

He said that Lockheed and the center plan to build two more cargo units in January, each costing about $240 million.

Khrunichev plans to use its Proton bearer to launch the Alpha cargo unit into orbit in November 1997, the official said. He said the parties aim to finish Alpha, a U.S.-led international project with Russia as a main partner, by 1999.