- Press Release
- Dec 3, 2022
Space Frontier Foundation Calls Mir’s De-Orbit Historic Tragedy
The Space Frontier Foundation called
the destruction of the historic Mir space station an unnecessary waste of a
still useful and historic building in space, and laid the blame for its demise
on NASA Administrator Dan Goldin.
The group says the US pressured the
Russians and worked against efforts by Americans who wanted to save the
“Mir was bulldozed to make way for International Space Station Alpha,”
said Foundation President, Rick Tumlinson, “regardless of the fact that a
group of Americans were working with the Russians and investing their own
funds in the MirCorp firm to keep it up and transform it into a symbol of free
He continued, “If not for constant pressure from the US
government and a very negative PR campaign, Mir could have been a source of
income and jobs, instead of a sad display in the night sky.”
The Foundation created the “Keep Mir Alive” campaign in 1998 when the
station was first threatened.
Tumlinson helped lead a two pronged effort to
save Mir, either as a commercial facility or to keep it in orbit with a low
cost electromagnetic tether system, designed to lift the station to a
long-term storage orbit.
After more than a year of red tape and hundred of
thousands of dollars in legal bills, the $2 million tether system was approved
for export by the State Department a few days AFTER the official decision to
de-orbit Mir was made.
“The de-orbit of the Mir station will be seen by future generations as a
tremendous waste,” remarked Foundation Chairman Michael K. Heney.
Mir via tether would have provided an opportunity to demonstrate a
cost-effective and commercially viable technology.”
Added Heney, “Rejecting
the opportunity to preserve, instead of destroy, shows short-term thinking,
and highlights NASA’s fear of competition, threatening its monopoly in space.
Competition and free enterprise will be our future in space — NASA should
embrace this concept sooner rather than later.”
The Foundation salutes the incredible legacy of the Mir station, its
builders and the many who served on her.
The Foundation is a group of people
working to open space to human settlement.
It is promoting a new management
structure for space station Alpha designed to support all human activities in
space, public and private.
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