Status Report

MirCorp’s privately-funded mission to save Mir ends with cosmonauts touchdown in Kazakhstan

By SpaceRef Editor
June 16, 2000
Filed under

Renovated Russian space station is declared ready for
commercial flights

The world’s first commercial mission
to renovate a manned space station and open it for commercial operations
ended successfully today with the soft landing of two Russian cosmonauts
in Kazakhstan.

Mission commander Sergei Zalyotin and flight engineer Alexander Kalery
emerged from their Soyuz TM-30 transport spacecraft after touching down
on the Kazakh steppe at 00:44 GMT (8:44 PM EDT June 15).

Their recovery by a specialized ground crew marked the end to a
long-duration flight sponsored by MirCorp that revived the station,
making it ready for follow-on commercial missions.

“Working in partnership with our Russian colleagues, we have demonstrated
the viability of MirCorp’s business model,” MirCorp President Jeffrey
Manber said. “We are excited about the commercial prospects for
this extremely capable space station.”

Dr. Chirinjeev Kathuria, one of MirCorp’s major investors, declared the
station ready for long-term operation as a commercial space
platform. “The successful conclusion of this flight is one of
MirCorp’s most significant milestones to date,” he said. “The
cosmonauts confirmed that Mir is in good working order, and they
demonstrated the value of Mir to the world’s business community. We
now are preparing the groundwork for upcoming missions to the station.”

Highlights of the MirCorp sponsored flight with Zalyotin and Kalery

— The first privately sponsored extravehicular
activity (EVA, or spacewalk); The May 12 spacewalk included a
pioneering test of future techniques to repair space stations.

— The renovation of Mir; including repairing
a small air leak detected during a previous mission and the
implementation of a system to downlink digital images and content.

— The first resupply of a space station using
missions financed by the private sector; Two such flights with
unmanned Progress cargo spacecraft were carried out; one on
February 3 (prior to the cosmonauts’ arrival on board Mir), and the other
on April 27, which occurred during the crew’s third week on the

Cosmonauts Zalyotin and Kalery spent a total of 73 days aboard Mir,
orbiting the Earth 1,100 times while working on the station.

The Holland-based MirCorp was formed earlier this year to develop
commercial operations on Mir.  The company acts as a facilitator,
beginning with the establishment of business conditions for Mir’s use,
and continuing through successful completion of a user’s activity on
board the station.

MirCorp is 60% owned by RSC Energia; the manufacturer and operator
of Mir; while the remaining 40% held by its financial investors.

For further information, see MirCorp’s Website:

SpaceRef staff editor.