Moscow, Russia; Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Alexandria, Virginia, September 4, 2001 – MirCorp today announced it has reached a historic agreement for the design, development, launch and operation of the world’s first private space station.
The MirCorp orbital facility, currently named Mini Station 1, will accommodate three visitors for stays of up to 20 days at a time. It is to have a lifetime of more than 15 years, and will be serviced by both Soyuz manned transports and unmanned Progress cargo resupply spacecraft. Startup of commercial operations is expected in 2004.
Signing the agreement authorizing MirCorp’s space station development were: Yuri Koptev, General Director of Rosaviakosmos, the Russian space agency; Yuri P. Semenov, President and General Designer of RSC Energia, the world’s leading manufacturer of manned space structures, and Jeffrey Manber, President of MirCorp.
The accord is a blueprint for MirCorp’s plans to fully develop the commercial exploration of space – a market it pioneered through the commercial lease of Russia’s Mir space station in February 2000 and the signing of Dennis Tito to a commercial flight contract in June 2000. With the de-orbiting of Mir earlier this year, Tito was transferred to the International Space Station and became the first space tourist.
“MirCorp’s Mini Station 1 agreement creates the first commercial space infrastructure – offering multiple flight opportunities under our control to a destination that will be fully supported by the private sector,” MirCorp President Manber explained. “It is not enough to talk about sending people to space: you need an assured means of transport, and you need a destination where the commercial customer is the first priority – not a secondary concern. MirCorp will have all of this, at very accommodating environment.”
Detailed Definition of the MirCorp Station to be Completed in October 2001
The pioneering commercial orbital facility will be developed by Russia, using the country’s more than 30 years of manned space station experience. The station will be based on proven technology developed by MirCorp’s shareholder, RSC Energia, and its subcontractors.
Detailed definition of Mini Station 1 currently is underway.
MirCorp is holding extensive discussions with a range of commercial customers for its space station, and the company will work with NASA, the European Space Agency and the other International Space Station (ISS) space agency partners to send users to ISS until the mini-station is operational.
“MirCorp understands that the International Space Station is dedicated to world-class science and belongs to multiple governments,” Gert Weyers, MirCorp senior vice president, explained. “We have shown there is a market for a different type of customer, whether a tourist, a commercial scientist, a filmmaker or anyone who is healthy and has a dream of space travel. MirCorp’s mini-station answers this market need.”
Under the planned scenario, MirCorp Soyuz manned transportation vehicles will visit both Mini Station 1 and the International Space Station. On a typical flight, the Soyuz would go first to Mini Station 1, where it will be docked for the two-week commercial mission. It then would fly to the ISS, where the Soyuz crew will transfer to the older Soyuz already docked to the international station. The crew would return in this Soyuz, leaving a newer spacecraft for the next space transportation cycle.
Manber said in this scenario, commercial activities would help the Russian Federation fulfill its commitment to support the International Space Station.
“We are very, very grateful of how hard everyone worked at Energia and Rosaviakosmos, including the personal involvement of Yuri Semenov and Yuri Koptev to reach a complex agreement that allows us to fully develop this commercial market and support ISS at the same time,” Manber said. “This is a great agreement for ISS, its partners and everyone who dreams of flying to space.”
According to a senior Russian official, Mini Station 1 does not require not require complex international, long-term coordination, as opposed to the ISS. This provides additional flexibility in responding to commercial customer requirements.
Manber added that MirCorp appreciates its supporters and investors, including the original Gold & Appel and Kathuria Holdings, who continue to believe in the company’s long term potential and who have worked to bring about this agreement and continue to believe in the company’s long term potential.
MirCorp is the leading manned commercial space exploration company, which has worked with customers in the media and private tourism sectors. MirCorp signed the first lease of a commercial space station, and booked Dennis Tito as the first citizen explorer. The company’s corporate headquarters are in Amsterdam, and it has offices in Moscow, Russia and Alexandria, Virginia in the United States. For commercial information, contact MirCorp Senior Vice President Product Commercialization Gert Weyers at: +31 20 520 68 40, fax: +31 20 520 68 42 or visit the MirCorp website at: www.mirstation.com.
About RSC Energia
As a major shareholder of MirCorp, RSC Energia brings world-class Russian space expertise. RSC Energia was the first company to launch a satellite, Sputnik 1, and orbited Yuri Gagarin as the first human in space. It also was responsible for the development of Russia’s space stations, beginning with the first such orbital facility ever launched, Salyut 1. Today, RSC Energia has lead industrial roles in numerous major space programs, including as prime contractor responsibility for Russia’s contribution to the International Space Station. RSC Energia also participates in the Sea Launch program with Boeing, ILS launch services with Lockheed, and the Enterprise module with Spacehab.
Rosaviacosmos is headed by Dr. Yuri Koptev, and has the responsibility of coordinating the civil and commercial space programs for the Russian Federation.
Press and media contact:
The InfoWEST Group (media relations agency for MirCorp)
Tel. (US): +1 (703) 448-5669
Tel: (International GSM): +33 (0)6 80 85 86 25
Fax: +1 (703) 448-6130