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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Energia Negotiating to Build 12 Spacecraft for NASA, ESA

Russian spacecraft manufacturer Energia is in talks with NASA and the European Space Agency to build 12 spacecraft for the agencies, the head of the corporation said at a news conference Thursday, RIA-Novosti reported.

"Talks to build six Soyuz and six Progress craft in 2009, 2010, and 2011 to carry American and European astronauts into space are ongoing," Energia CEO Nikolai Sevastyanov said.

In 2006 NASA and Energia signed a deal for the production of two Progress spacecraft to be launched in 2007 and 2008.

The corporation plans to double the number of Soyuz and Progress launches by 2009, when the crew of the international space station increases to six from the current three, said Sevastyanov, who is also Energia's chief designer.

"We plan to launch four Soyuz and seven Progress spacecraft annually," he said.

Sevastyanov also announced that the initial research stages for the Clipper space transport system would be completed later this year, Interfax reported.

The reusable Clipper spaceplane is intended to lower the cost of sending people into orbit and may replace the Soyuz craft. Energia will be looking for a pool of investors to fund the project in 2008, Sevastyanov said.

The government owns a 38.2 percent stake in Energia, while Energia subsidiary Razvitiye controls 17.3 percent of the manufacturer.