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Astronomy compels the soul to look upwards and leads us from this world to another.

Feature Story

MirCorp's Business Plan is on Track
April 27 Update

With the Mir station successfully reactivated and ready for commercial operations, MirCorp's management team provided www.mirstation.com with insights into the company's plans and goals:

MirCorp's company logo is seen here on the fairing protecting the Soyuz spacecraft that carried cosmonauts Zalyotin and Kalery to Mir.

President Jeffrey Manber said the market response to Mir's availability as a commercial platform has been excellent, and the first customers are expected to be signed in the coming weeks.

"Before we reactivated the station, people were saying: 'Can you really do this?" he said. "Now, we're now pursing serious business opportunities – opportunities that are exactly in line with MirCorp's business model."

According to Manber, MirCorp's short-term revenue will be generated by non-traditional uses of a space station, including media/entertainment packages and corporate sponsorships. An Internet portal is to be placed on Mir later this year, and it will linked to the company's Web site, www.mirstation.com.

"Non-traditional users open exciting business opportunities for MirCorp," Manber said. "The non-traditional activities such as sponsorships and media packages are interesting because they are neither weight nor volume dependent."

The second source of business will be from the more traditional sector, including space-based research and in-orbit scientific experimentation. These users often are governments and institutes, which take more time to organize a space project.

While the international news media has given much attention to civilian explorers' flights to Mir, Manber explained this represents a small part of the company's business plan.

"I am disappointed that many journalists seem to focus only on this as they report on MirCorp and the space station's reactivation," he explained. "While citizen explorer flights are possible, they have received a disproportionate amount of news coverage."

MirCorp going public in 2001

MirCorp plans to go public in the third quarter of 2001, and the company is looking for sophisticated investors. "We're not ready for individual shareholders just yet, so for the many of you who have asked us about buying stock, please bear with us until next year," Manber said.

The company currently is in the process of building up the staff for its headquarters, which will be located in Holland at Leiden, near Amsterdam. Positions to be filled include Chief Financial Officer and an office manager.

Manber said Holland was chosen for MirCorp's headquarters because of its central location in Europe and the country's tradition of commercial exploration. "The great trading companies of the 18th and 19th centuries were Dutch, and we are proud to be able to extend this history with our commercial space company," he said.

Manber (left), Dr. Kathuria (center), and RSC Energia's Dr. Yuri P. Semenov meet journalists during a press conference in the mission control center.

The MirCorp Web site has received hundreds of e-mails with encouragement for the company, along with best wishes for cosmonauts Sergei Zalyotin and Alexander Kalery, who boarded Mir on April 6 to reactivate the station.

These e-mails have come from all over the world. They include slow-scan television images transmitted by Zalyotin and Kalery to amateur radio operators, pictures of scale Mir models built by enthusiasts, and even a digital video from Slovenia showing the Mir as it crossed the sky.

MirCorp's Web site is posting the e-mails regularly, and videos are included for viewing.

"I want to thank the hundreds of people who have sent e-mails to us and to the Mir cosmonauts," Manber said. "We are forwarding e-mails to Zalyotin and Kalery, and they are answering questions posed by Web site visitors."

MirCorp's successful completion of its second round of financing has enabled the company to move ahead with plans for a follow-on mission to Mir, which is targeted for the third quarter of this year. The company has committed to keeping Mir in orbit and operational for the long term, according to Dr. Chirinjeev Kathuria, a MirCorp investor and board member.

MirCorp has started an affiliate program, in which companies with expertise in a specific market or geographical region will become sales representatives.

Andrew Eddy, the Senior Vice President-Business Development, said MirCorp is in discussion with several companies and organizations for MirCorp affiliate status. "Bringing them into the MirCorp family will extend our marketing reach even further," he added.

See our previous Feature Story


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