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Russia's TASS news agency to open bureau in ISS

Moscow, Nov 18 (IANS) Russia's TASS news agency has signed a memorandum of cooperation with the state space corporation Roscosmos to open a permanent bureau on the International Space Station (ISS).

"The first correspondent in space will be Hero of Russia, Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin," Xinhua news agency quoted TASS head Sergei Mikhailov as saying after inking the document with Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin on Wednesday.

Misurkin is scheduled to leave the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan for the ISS on December 8 together with a Japanese billionaire and his business assistant onboard the Soyuz MS-20 spacecraft for a commercial mission.

"Previously, we were limited to our planet. TASS is present in all regions of Russia and in more than 60 countries. In the coming years their numbers will increase. We've eyed the idea that outer space may be the target of our news expansion, and I am very glad that cooperation with the Roscosmos Corporation has taken shape very quickly and harmoniously.

"It is an incredible honour for us to call our Russian cosmonauts colleagues. We look forward to news and amazing footage from space," Mikhailov added.

Rogozin said at the ceremony that the idea is not "extravagant" because many Roscosmos cosmonauts have already been actively documenting their activities in orbit.

Following a thorough discussion, the state space corporation decided to accept Mikhailov's interesting and important proposal, he said.

"We really want everyone in our country and abroad to understand that space exploration is about overcoming fear, disbelief and ignorance.

"When a few very courageous people engage in it, I would like this to be for the sake of all mankind, our entire society, showing space as it is," said Rogozin.

Currently, a staff of nearly 2,000 keeps TASS, the largest news agency in Russia, has regional news centres in St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk and Yekaterinburg and dozens of bureaus across the country's regions, as well as 63 bureaus in 60 countries.