Press Release

Space Frontier Foundation Hails Private Sector Takeover of Mir

By SpaceRef Editor
February 17, 2000
Filed under

Los Angeles, CA, February 17, 2000 — The Space Frontier Foundation
hailed today’s announcement of the groundbreaking commercial takeover of the
Russian space station, Mir, by MirCorp., as a turning point in the history of space

“MirCorp’s strikingly brave effort represents a major success, and not only for
private enterprise – for NASA and other space exploration agencies as well,”
remarked Foundation President Rick Tumlinson, one of the effort’s early leaders.
“As today’s Lewis’ and Clarks, these agencies should be proud that the place they
have been exploring for so long, the Near Frontier, is now about to see its first
civilian residents.”

The Russian firm, Energia, currently operates the Station and will be the majority
stockholder in MirCorp. The future of Mir was not always rosy, however. The
Russians had planned to de-orbit the Station and send it plunging into the ocean,
due to lack of funding. But after a year of exhaustive efforts by Foundation
members and others, Mir received funding from a private venture company, and
MirCorp sprung to the rescue.

The Foundation, based in Los Angeles, has a decade-long history of interest in
Mir. It started in 1991 as an article suggesting re-use of the spacecraft. Tumlinson
testified about Mir before Congress in 1995, and in 1997, the Foundation called
for the commercialization of the Station as part of its “Keep Mir Alive” campaign.

“The settlers and shopkeepers are finally moving out into the frontier of space,”
stated Foundation President Rick Tumlinson, who along with several others
initiated the effort. “We are moving from the era of exploration, to the era of
utilization; from a time when space was considered a ‘program,’ to a time when
space is considered a ‘place’.”

The Foundation believes that MirCorp fulfills all the goals of both the U.S.
government when it comes to the Russian space program. Stated Foundation
Chairman Michael Heney, “It keeps Russian engineers in Russia, and it keeps them
employed. It keeps production lines open, which benefits the International Space
Station, and it provides a new and peaceful symbol of Russian society moving into
the world of free enterprise.”

Mir is unique because it will be the first space venture that is planned for use by
civilian individuals not associated with NASA or other space agencies. “New
markets and activities mean lower costs, and the free market cycle will bring access
to space prices down over time,” said Heney.

Tumlinson and the Foundation members wish the project well. He continued, “we
hope others will join them and turn this into a revolution in the way humans see and
participate in the opening of space.”


The Space Frontier Foundation is an organization of people dedicated to opening the Space
Frontier to human settlement as rapidly as possible. Our goals include protecting the Earth’s
fragile biosphere and creating a freer and more prosperous life for each generation by using
the unlimited energy and material resources of space. Our purpose is to unleash the power of
free enterprise and lead a united humanity permanently into the Solar System.

For information on the Foundation, call 1-800-78SPACE
or visit our web site at:
Our E-Mail Address is
The Space Frontier Foundation, 16 First Avenue, Nyack NY 10960

SpaceRef staff editor.