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A Russian space agency established in 1992 after the break-up of the former USSR in 1991. The facilities of the former USSR civilian space programme were transferred to the RK. Yuri Koptev headed the organization from its founding until 2004. It has a staff of about 300, with much work contracted to the Energiya Rocket and Space Complex and other companies. RK was in charge of the space station Mir, and is a major partner in the International Space Station. It has played a more major role since NASA's space shuttles were grounded in 2003 following the Columbia space shuttle disaster. On 21 October 2003, it signed an agreement with the European Space Agency (ESA) to launch two uncrewed Foton capsules for scientific experiments in 2005 and 2006.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics.

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