Washington, D.C./Moscow, Russia (October 12, 2000) – MirCorp plans an historic Initial Public Offering (IPO) on leading exchanges worldwide to raise $117 million in financing for long-term commercial operations with Russia’s Mir space station.
This first-of-its-kind IPO was spurred by worldwide international interest in the commercial opportunities with Mir – the only independent space station in orbit today.
"Recognizing this unprecedented interest in Mir, we have decided to pursue the IPO to raise the working capital for long-term commercial service with the station," MirCorp President Jeffrey Manber said. "We are in the process of making decisions on which markets in Asia, Europe and the U.S. we will be registering the IPO."
The Holland-based MirCorp was formed to operate Mir as a truly commercial space platform. It has an exclusive lease agreement with RSC Energia – the Russian space systems manufacturer that built and operates the space station.
MirCorp successfully saved Mir from destruction earlier this year, and financed a 73-day mission of two Russian cosmonauts to reactive the orbital facility – opening it for business. It also funded three unmanned resupply missions to maintain Mir in a fully operational status, with a fourth to be launched October 16 from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
"There has been strong international support for Mir, and the IPO will raise capital that will demonstrate to both the Russian government and the world that we have a solid business plan that is fully backed by financing," Manber said. "As MirCorp is 60 percent Russian controlled, we look forward to working with the Russian government while we pursue the full commercial opportunities with Mir."
Dr. Chirinjeev Kathuria, a director and major investor in MirCorp, said the company has significant asset value, and is unique in offering true commercial access to space.
"MirCorp has been valued at between $1.3 and $1.5 billion by KPMG, which recognized the worth of Mir as the only orbital platform of its kind in service today," Dr. Kathuria said.
MirCorp is developing its manned flight schedule for 2001 and beyond, with several missions now being organized. They include the launch of Dennis Tito, MirCorp’s first Citizen Explorer, as well as the flight of a winner from the "Destination Mir" reality series from NBC and "Survivor" producer Mark Burnett.
Dennis Tito has completed the second two-week training cycle at Russia’s Star City cosmonaut base near Moscow, and his historic Citizen Explorer mission is scheduled for 2001.
The NBC "Destination Mir" series – in which a diverse cast of at least a dozen American civilians will train for the mission at Star City – will end with one person selected for the flight to Mir. "Destination Mir" will run during the 2001-02 season.
"The Dennis Tito and ‘Destination Mir’ flights have confirmed the revenue potential of the station with non-traditional users of space," Dr. Kathuria added. "We also foresee a major revenue stream from the more traditional sectors – including space science, remote sensing and manned missions with national or governmental space agencies."
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