Press Release

New Commercial MirCorp Reaches Agreement for Development of the World’s First Private Space Station

By SpaceRef Editor
September 4, 2001
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Click to enlarge
Orbital Facility to Accommodate Up to 3
Visitors for 20-Day Stays

ALEXANDRIA, Va., MOSCOW and AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, Sept. 4

MirCorp today announced it has reached an historic
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
three visitors for stays of up to 20 days at a time. It is to have a lifetime
more than 15 years, and will be serviced by both Soyuz manned transports and
unmanned Progress cargo re-supply spacecraft. Start-up of commercial
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

The accord is a blueprint for MirCorp’s plans to fully develop the
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
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
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
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

The pioneering commercial orbital facility will be developed by Russia,
government approval, using the country’s more than 30 years of manned space
station experience. The station will be based on proven technology developed
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
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
send users to ISS until the mini-station is operational.

“MirCorp understands that the International Space Station is dedicated
world-class science and belongs to multiple governments,” Gert Weyers,
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
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
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
next space transportation cycle.

Manber said in this scenario, commercial activities would help the
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

According to a senior Russian official, Mini Station 1 does not require
complex international, long-term coordination, as opposed to the ISS.
This provides additional flexibility in responding to commercial customer

Manber added that MirCorp appreciates its supporters and investors,
the original Gold & Appel and Kathuria Holdings, who continue to believe in
company’s long term potential and who have worked to bring about this
and continue to believe in the company’s long term potential.

SpaceRef staff editor.