[FPSPACE] More on MirCorp
Fri, 22 Sep 2000 10:04:18 -0400
MSNBC piece partially based on this story I did this week:
Yes, MirCorp people told me they needed more money to keep Mir operational
in addition to $40 million they currently raised, and they were very
optimistic that new customers will be found and the station will continue
flying. Tito does go to Mir, not to the ISS, it is decided and was paid for.
In the meantime, RKK Energia asked Russian government during latest Duma
hearings on space to be prepared to pay for Mir's deorbiting operations
(essentially two Progress ships) in case if more money is not found.
Next Mir expedition not "might" be downsized, like Lenorovits said, it WAS
downsized already: 10-14 days instead of 3-4 months. MirCopr can't pay for a
replacement crew at this point, and Tito does not want to fly for three
months I was told.
From: Dwayne Allen Day [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: 22 сентября 2000 г. 9:46
Subject: [FPSPACE] More on MirCorp
There are a couple of interesting articles on MirCorp worth looking at:
One of my big gripes with media coverage of MirCorp has been that nobody
has really looked at the issue from a financial standpoint--everyone
covers the novelty of it and just repeats MirCorp's press
releases. Nobody crunches the numbers.
The NY Times article is about a proposal by Dreamtime to create an
American program where people compete to fly to ISS. This is interesting
because it is so amazingly stupid. Nobody in their right mind would think
that NASA (or Congress) would actually agree to this. In fact, NASA
actually put the kebosh on this Thursday with a letter to Dreamtime
telling them to knock it off (more precisely, it told Dreamtime that they
do not represent NASA).
The MSNBC article is more interesting to me, because it points out that
the Russians have discussed de-orbiting Mir next year, possibly by
February. This would be BEFORE Titov or the winner of the "Destination
Mir" contest could fly (consolation prize for "Destination Mir" might be a
trip to Siberia instead?).
Some of the comments in the MSNBC article are kinda odd. Did aides to
Energia president Semenov *really* say that if Mir fell down, Dennis Tito
and the "Destination Mir" winner could be shifted to the International
Space Station?!! (And if they did, they need to lay off the sauce.)
According to this article, Energia is really sapped for cash and the
Russian government is feeling pressure from ISS commitments and wants to
get rid of the Mir financial strain (what financial strain is that? I
thought Mir was supposedly financially independent?).
I believe that I said a few months ago that Energia would milk this for
what they could get--take money from dumb western investors until that
money became scarce, then cut MirCorp loose. It looks like this is
starting to happen. My guess is that Semenov's comments are meant to warn
MirCorp that they need to fork over an extra $100 million or so or the
station plunges into the Pacific ("Give us the cash or we shoot this space
But the most interesting part of the article to me is the concession by
MirCorp spokesman Jeffrey Lenorovitz that "if MirCorp in the next few
months doesn't find more funds, Mir will be deorbited." He also said that
MirCorp might downsize its plans to fly two long-duration missions.
Previously, MirCorp was talking about going IPO by the second quarter of
2001. But Mir may be gone before they even get that far. (And even if it
is not, would you buy stock in a company that was so clearly on the edge?)
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