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U.S., Russia agree to joint space projects

American and Russian officials signed a joint agreement Monday that will put cosmonauts on a U.S. space shuttle and an astronaut on the Mir space station in the next three years.

The United States and Soviet Union cooperated on the staffed Apollo-Soyuz space flight in 1975, in which spacecraft from the two countries docked in orbit. But Russians and Americans have never flown as crew members aboard the other's spacecraft.

"Space offers inspiration, hope, opportunity and peace for the people of this world," said Daniel Goldin, the NASA administrator who signed the pact with Russian counterpart Yuri Koptev.

The deal calls for putting a Russian cosmonaut aboard a U.S. space shuttle in November 1993 and an American astronaut aboard the Mir space station for an estimated 90-day mission in 1995.

An American shuttle carrying U.S. astronauts and Russian cosmonauts would dock at the Mir, leaving the Russians on the space station and retrieving the American and Russians from the Mir.

The deal was worked out by Presidents Bush and Boris Yeltsin during their June summit in Washington. Goldin estimated the U.S. share of the missions would cost more than $100-million. Koptev, general director of the Russian Space Agency, offered no estimate of Russian costs.