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Canuck place in U.S. space race costly

CP   2004-01-16 03:36:30  

MONTREAL -- Canadian astronauts could have a seat on manned space flights to the moon and Mars if U.S. President George W. Bush's vision for space becomes a reality, the head of the Canadian Space Agency said yesterday. But Marc Garneau, Canada's first man in space two decades ago, said Canadian astronauts would need billions of dollars from the federal government.

"There's the tantalizing possibility that a Canadian man or woman could go to the moon as part of that effort sometime in the second part of the next decade," Garneau said from the agency's headquarters in Longueuil, Que.

"Over the next 20 years, it would be in the billions of dollars. There's no free ride."

On Wednesday, Bush outlined a plan to develop new spacecraft to carry astronauts back to the moon by 2015. Bush's election-year vision also calls for the construction of a long-term base on the moon that could be used as a launching pad to other places, including Mars.

The president invited other nations "to join us on this journey in a spirit of co-operation and friendship."

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