All together 42 countries, 130 foreign aerospace companies and 500 Russian companies. are taking part in the air show. ESA's presence is a sign of the growing cooperation between ESA and Russia marked by the working group on cooperation with Russia set up by ESA and the Russian Federal Space Agency at the beginning of this year. The working group is in the process of drawing up a Euro-Russian Space Cooperation Plan for presentation to ESA's Ministerial Council in December.
A number of presentations are taking place at the ESA stand to inform visitors about the many areas of ESA-Russian cooperation; these include the development of future launchers, scientific interplanetary missions, scientific experiments on board the International Space Station (ISS), joint microgravity experiments in space and projects for Earth observation.
There will also be a presentation of Europe's new navigation system Galileo, as well as its precursor EGNOS, and demonstrations of the EURITEX database for the exchange of technology information between European and Russian industries. At its stand, ESA will also show videos on the different areas of cooperation between ESA and the Federal Space Agency.
President Vladimir Putin opened MAKS 2005 on Tuesday and stayed to visit some of the displays and watch demonstration flights. The head of the Russian Federal Space Agency, Anatoly Perminov, invited the Director of ESA's Launchers Programme, Antonio Fabrizi, to join President Putin and Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov on a visit to a mockup of Clipper, a Russian spacecraft designed to carry astronauts to the ISS and for future exploration of the solar system. It is expected that a decision on Europe's future involvement in Clipper will be made in December at ESA's Ministerial Council.
"I was able to speak to President Putin about ESA and the Federal Space Agency's collaboration on launching Soyuz from Europe's Spaceport as well as on new generation launchers," said ESA's Antonio Fabrizi.
"We also spoke about future collaboration on projects such as Clipper, in which a number of ESA Member States, including Italy, France, Germany, Belgium and Spain, have expressed interest", added Fabrizi. "President Putin expressed his best wishes for the December meeting of ESA's Ministerial Council and his hope that this will lead to further collaboration between ESA and Russia. I found President Putin friendly, open and positive. Our conversation was very informal and I believe that when you speak informally you say what you feel."