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CAPETOWN, October 8 (Itar-Tass) —— A series of important news in the field of astronautics was announced at the 62nd International Astronautical Congress, which ended earlier on Friday. The forum, which for the first time in history took place in Africa, brought together more than 2,500 delegates – chiefs of national space agencies, astronauts, scientists, writers and journalists, including a Russian delegation led by the head of the Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) Vladimir Popovkin.
The head of the Russian Space Agency announced the completion of the constellation of satellites for the Russian navigation system GLONASS and the early resumption of the delivery of astronauts to the international space station after a long break. The head of NASA Charles Bolden announced the transition to outsourcing in rocket launches for putting satellites into orbit – from now on almost all standard missions will be entrusted to two private companies, Space-X and Orbital Sciences.
He also announced the commissioning of the new spacecraft Orion for long-distance trips and suggested developing a "road map" for organizing such missions.
China presented plans for docking in space the module Tyangun-1, launched in September this year, and the transport ship Shenzhou-8, scheduled to be launched November. China is going to carry out the docking entirely on its own for the first time ever. In two years’ time Beijing is determined to put together its own space station of several modules weighing 20 tonnes. India, said the head of its center for space research Ranganath Ravalgund, is planning to send to the Moon a special probe with Russian assistance in 2013 to study the Moon’s surface.
As for the African countries, whose space ambitions are growing rapidly, the Republic of South Africa plans by 2013 to build and run a third satellite. The first launch of its own spacecraft is being prepared by Kenya. Nigeria seeks to dominate in the space sector on the continent, surpassing other states in Africa as to the number of satellites. Just recently, two of them were launched from the Russian site Yasny in the Orenburg Region.