[FPSPACE] MirCorp for liquidator?
Dwayne Allen Day
Sat, 07 Oct 2000 10:02:39 -0400 (EDT)
On Sat, 7 Oct 2000, KEITH GOTTSCHALK wrote:
> But if space marketeers are to charm NASDAQ after the
> Iridium & MirCorp fiascos, & not make venture capital
> raising impossible for Kistler, Roton etc, they need to be
> toughly realistic about their business plans.
The problem with so many of these schemes like MirCorp and LunaCorp is
that the people proposing them are space activists, not
businessmen. Space activists do this because of their dreams (and also a
hatred of NASA). But that will not make a profit, and profit is what is
needed. If you get a non-dreamer to do this stuff, he will look at the
bottom line and figure out what works. That will be far more likely to
succeed than unrealistic dreaming.
> exchange of spam fire :) We all celebrate private
> business growth in comsats. We celebrate the start of
> private business in selling, & in digital processing, of
> R.S. imagery. We will cheer on Teledesic, ICO, Kistler &
> Roton if they merely break even & survive. Everyone on
Well, the problem is that we *don't* celebrate private business growth in
comsats. Space activists do not care at all about any existing or
developing market that a) does not involve people, and/or b) does not
involve poking a finger in NASA's eye. You never see space activists
getting excited about the development of commercial remote sensing or the
addition of commercial laboratory modules to ISS. This does not fit their
dream of space opening up for the masses.
(The one other notable space development effort was Beal Aerospace, where
a self-financed billionaire was building his own rocket. Space activists
generally yawned at this.)
> But experience indicates that space venture
> capitalists need to work far closer than before with
> investment advisors, brokers, & chartered accountants who
> have actually succeeded at innovative risk taking.
I had absolutely nothing against the *concept* of MirCorp. It seemed like
it could make sense on the margins (i.e. generate a little bit of
money). But the more the company talked, the more convinced I was that it
was not a serious effort at all. They talked about doing things on Mir
that either defied the laws of physics, or indicated a really immature
view of the business (stupid comments like the statement that stock
certificates would be signed on Mir by the cosmonauts themselves--as if
investors wanted an autograph rather than profits). I have gotten a real
sense that this was an amateur production. For instance, the head of
MirCorp recently commented about how the station's viability will be
proven as people like James Cameron made flights there--ignoring the
comments from Cameron's spokesperson that the Hollywood director was NOT
contemplating a space flight. MirCorp simply issued too many statements
that did not make them look serious. Their comments on the viability of
the station were like teenage girls talking about Leo DiCaprio's acting
> software ventures, private space business has er,
> astronomical capitalization requirements.
I think this is an excellent point. An investor can put a few million
dollars into a budding software firm and have hopes of great returns. But
the capitalization requirements for even a simple space venture are
huge. A single year of operation on Mir supposedly cost from $100-200
million, and MirCorp never raised even half that much.