[FPSPACE] Lack of Progress

Dwayne Allen Day wayneday@gwis2.circ.gwu.edu
Sat, 30 Sep 2000 08:55:33 -0400 (EDT)

> From AviationNow.com
> Shortage Of Russian Spacecraft Puts Mir At Risk

> MirCorp is scrambling to pull together funding for several unanticipated
> refueling flights needed to keep Russia's Mir space station aloft, but
> there may not be enough Russian spacecraft available to support both Mir
> and the International Space Station (ISS), MirCorp President Jeffrey
> Manber said.  

Now when they say "several" what do they mean?  The October launch is one,
but does this mean that they will need to fly another one early next year,
in addition to Tito?

> "The Mir is coming down far quicker than the experts predicted," Manber
> said, adding that if no Progress supply flights reached the station it
> would be uncontrollable by December. The next supply flight to Mir is now
> scheduled for Oct. 15. The problem, he said, is being caused by very high
> solar flare activity.  

The previous article implied this, but did not state explicitly that it
was falling faster than planned.

> Though MirCorp is about two weeks late on its payments to Russias RSC
> Energia, money should soon be in hand to pay for the next flight. Energia

Note this is the first report of late payments.

> Manber told AviationNow.com  that MirCorp has pledges from its current
> investors for tens of millions of dollars more in investment. "Our
> investors, realizing we were slow in bringing in new investors, have
> reupped for more money. The documents are being put together," he said. 

This now links the MSNBC article and the MirCorp press release.  The
former said that they have not raised any money.  The latter said that
Kathuria and Anderson were chipping in more of their own money.  Both have
probably spent about $20 million apiece on this thing.  The question
becomes how much more of their own money are they willing to spend so that
other billionaires can take joy rides.  (If I was Anderson, I'd want to
fly myself, not subsidize another rich white guy.)

> next week, Manber said, to decide what levels of commitment they can
> provide to MirCorp and ISS. "The agenda of this meeting is: given the
> solar flare activity, given the requirements of ISS, given the
> requirements of MirCorp, given the presumed level of funding possible for
> MirCorp, given the apparent inability of the Russian government to support
> us - what can we do next year," Manber said. 

What is meant by "given the apparent inability of the Russian government
to support us"?  MirCorp was supposedly a private operation, right? (Hint,

> Part of their decision will undoubtedly hinge on the ability to pay for
> hardware. Manber agreed with an AviationNow.com report earlier this month
> that the Russian government has not paid Energia for flights to ISS for
> next year. Energia has been internally financing work on Progress and
> Soyuz vehicles for ISS.  

This is interesting and complex.  Does it mean that now both MirCorp and
the Russian government owe Energia money?  I guess Energia has to decide
which customer is more likely to pay them in the long run.