The European Space Agency (ESA) and the Russian Aviation and Space Agency, Rosaviakosmos, have signed a deal for European astronauts to fly to the International Space Station (ISS) as flight engineers aboard Soyuz TM spacecraft once a year from 2002 to 2006.

The first to fly will be Italian Space Agency (ISA)/ESA flight engineer Roberto Vittori. The agreement does not cover the flight by French Space Agency scientist Claudie Andre-Deshays, due in October, as it was already arranged.

The missions will be paid for by each astronaut's national space agency.

Source: Flight International