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Press Release
Media Contact: 800-787-7223 or press@space-frontier.org
Shuttle - Mir Program Hailed; Decision to Destroy Mir Called "Shortsighted"

Los Angeles, CA, June 12, 1998 – As the Space Shuttle returns today from its "last" mission to the Russian Mir space station, the Space Frontier Foundation hailed the Shuttle-Mir program for allowing Americans to experience long term spaceflight. The Foundation also urged the Russian space agency and the international private sector to examine means of keeping Mir in orbit as a potential commercial space platform.

"With several new space transportation systems about to be launched over the next few years, destroying the only piece of commercial real estate in orbit and with it the money it could generate for the Russian economy – mere months before the first customers arrive – is shortsighted to say the least," says Foundation President Rick Tumlinson.

The Foundation sees STS-MIR as an incredibly cost effective and innovative program for the U.S. taxpayers, with the U.S. having bought almost 1,000 crew days on orbit for a mere $450 Million dollars, which is less than the cost of one shuttle flight. But the Foundation also believes many criticisms of the Mir space station are based on a well-orchestrated NASA campaign to clear the way for its bloated International Space Station project. As an example, Mir is over 12 years old, but is no older then most of the Shuttle fleet used to transport crew members to Mir, and several of its modules were only launched in the last few years. Despite NASA's successfully labeling Mir with such descriptors as the "aging" and "troubled station", returning U.S. and international astronauts have said the station is running fine, given the challenges its operators face.

"Mir is valuable as a potential commercial facility. If they destroy it, someone else will have pay to build another one to replace it," says David Anderman, manager of the Foundation's Keep Mir Alive project, which has garnered international support from over a dozen countries. "We need to find ways to keep Mir available as a potential spaceport into the next decade."

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.

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The High Frontier is Gerard K. O'Neill's masterpiece. This new 3rd Edition Includes an introduction by Freeman Dyson.
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The Frontier Enabling Test
Our definition of a "frontier enabling" technology or policy is one which has as its effect the acceleration of the creation of low cost access to the space frontier for private citizens and companies, enables or accelerates our use of space resources, and/or accelerates the rate at which wealth can be generated in space. In other words, is the project or policy going to provide a return on the national investment, if we define "return" to be the economically sustainable human habitation of space?

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