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#3 - JRL 7218
Iraq war fails to dent Russia-US relations in space

MOSCOW, June 10 (AFP) - Russia-US cooperation in space, particularly in the field of commercial launches, has continued to increase this year despite friction between Moscow and Washington over Iraq, a top Russian space official said Tuesday.

The Russia-US company International Launch Services (ILS), created in 1995 by the US aerospace group Lockheed Martin and the Khrunichev space centre near Moscow, now has a 57 percent share in the market for commercial launches, centre director Alexander Medvedev said.

"Our relations with our American partners have not deteriorated, despite the Iraq crisis, but on the contrary are strengthening," Medvedev said, as quoted by the Interfax news agency.

ILS is responsible for the commercial operation of the US Atlas and Russian Proton launchers.

Four new contracts for Proton-assisted satellite launches in 2005-2005 have been signed since the start of the year, Medvedev said.

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