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ZHUKOVSKY /Moscow Region/, August 26. /TASS/. Russia’s Federal Space Corporation (Roscosmos) and the European Space Agency (ESA) have signed an agreement on further developing the ExoMars project, Roscosmos spokesman Igor Burenkov said on Wednesday.
"An agreement on ExoMars has been signed between Roscosmos and the ESA," the spokesman said at the MAKS air show outside Moscow.
Both agencies also preliminarily agreed a schedule of lunar missions, the Roscosmos spokesman said.
Certain political tension exists today between Russia, Europe and America over the Ukraine events and the ESA considers it important to develop and strengthen cooperation in the space sphere, ESA Head Johann-Dietrich Woerner said.
"The agreement signed today on the ExoMars project and the accords on the lunar program show that we understand each other," said Roscosmos Head Igor Komarov.
The joint work of the Russian and European space agencies "implies a sufficient level of trust and distraction from political issues," he added.
The agreement on implementing the ExoMars joint program was signed in March 2013. The mission’s first orbital spacecraft under the project is expected to be launched in early 2016, after which a Mars robotic vehicle will be dispatched. It is expected to touch the Martian surface in 2018.