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Italy to invest 40 mln euros in joint project with Russia to simulate space flights

Italy intends to cooperate as part of the experiment in the spheres of medico-biological problems, pharmacology and technological solutions

MOSCOW, February 6. /TASS/. A consortium of Italian universities and enterprises intends to invest 40 million euros in a joint experiment with Russia to imitate several manned space flights to other planets, manager of the Russia-Italy project on Italy’s behalf Sauro Addidati said on Monday.

"The full budget for the unification [of enterprises and universities] of this country makes up 40 million euros," the manager said at a joint Russian-Italian conference in Moscow.

According to the manager, Italy intends to cooperate as part of the experiment in four areas in the spheres of medico-biological problems, pharmacology and technological solutions.

"On the basis of the common technological know-how, we have been able to develop new technologies that will be applied not only for scientific purposes in a space flight but will also find application for commercial goals," he said.

The Institute of Medico-Biological Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences, which is acting as the experiment’s organizer, said earlier that over 20 industrial companies and universities had joined the Italian scientific and industrial consortium, which would deal with selecting the most interesting researches that could be included in the isolation program.

More countries join Russian project

Japan, France, Germany and Italy intend to take part in a joint project with Russia for simulating manned flights to other planets, Department Head of the Institute of Medico-Biological Problems Mark Belakovsky said on Monday.

"The talks were very intensive with our Japanese colleagues who will visit us in March for specific negotiations on the contract because we have already discussed the basic parameters of the scientific and technical program," he said

"Preliminarily, representatives of the German, French and Italian space agencies have given their consent for participation in the project. There are some scientists who have turned to us from Belgium, France, Canada, Germany and Romania. There is a whole number of firms, which have approached us, in particular, Airbus," Belakovsky said.

The project stipulates holding an isolation experiment in October 2017 and in 2018 for two or three weeks, four- and eight-month experiments in 2019 and an annual experiment in 2020-2021.

The crew of the first experiment for isolation as part of preparations for flights to other planets may be international and involve the participation of a Japanese and a German volunteer, Belakovsky said.

"We are planning to hold the first two-week technical experiment in late October. We plan that the crew will be international. In any case, there is an application from Japan and from one of German firms," he said.

There are also plans to select two or three women for a crew of six, Belakovsky said.

The Institute of Medico-Biological Problems and NASA earlier agreed to hold a series of joint isolation experiments to study the psychology and the working capacity of human being in long space flights. The experiments will be held in the Institute’s ground experimental complex from 2017 to 2021.

The Institute of Medico-Biological Problems has held several dozen similar experiments since 1967, the most famous of which include A Year in Spaceship (1967-1968), HUBES (1994), EKOPSY (1995), SFINCSS (2000), Mars-500 (2007-2011). The Mars-500 project imitated a flight to the Red Planet and lasted 520 days. A special ground complex was set up for this purpose.

In October-November 2015, a nine-day experiment, Moon-2015, was held in Moscow to isolate six girls in a hermetically sealed ground complex. The project’s participants performed the role of the lunar spaceship’s crew.