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MOSCOW, January 29 (RIA Novosti) - Russian astronauts onboard the International Space Station (ISS) have transferred scientific data using a laser communication channel for the first time in international practice, the Federal Space Agency Roscosmos said on Tuesday.
The information was transferred through the earth’s atmosphere at a rate of 125 megabytes per second from an onboard laser terminal, the agency said.
The total of 400 megabytes of data included earth imagery and telemetric information.
The transfer operation was part of the Laser Communication System project to exchange data between the ISS and the ground station Arkhyz in the North Caucasus.
Flight engineers Oleg Novitsky, Yevgeny Tarelkin and Roman Romanenko are Russian team members of ISS Expedition 34. NASA astronaut Kevin Ford is the commander, and Canadian Space Agency astronaut Chris Hadfield and NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn are also flight engineers.
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The growing outright rivalry between the United States and China gives Russia more foreign policy weight, enabling it to assume the role of a balancer. So far it has been doing so rather skillfully. Today it may participate in a joint naval exercise with China that Beijing positions as outwardly anti-American. But tomorrow it can team up with the naval forces of the Old World.