The Russian Space Agency (RSA) is to take control of Russia's space industry, including the supply of missiles and other military hardware, according to Russian President Boris Yeltsin.

The agency's previous role has been confined to controlling the civil space industry. The decision to extend its remit into the military sector has been made to "strengthen Russia's position in the world market", Yeltsin said on 20 January.

-Valeri Ryumin, the 58-year-old veteran cosmonaut and Russian chief of the Shuttle Mir Mission programme will fly aboard the Space Shuttle STS 91/Discovery in May on the final US visit to the Mir 1 space station.

Ryumin, with 362 days spaceflight experience, will fly as a mission specialist to inspect the Mir to decide how much longer it can be inhabited on future missions before its planned retirement and de-orbiting in late 1999.

Source: Flight International