Excalibur Almaz: Have Space Stations, Need a Plan

Artist's conception of the private Excalibur Almaz space station in orbit. (Credit: Excalibur Almaz)

Manx Radio has a brief interview with Leroy Chaio of Excalibur Almaz in which he describes the Isle of Man-based company’s plans for two space stations that it recently brought over from Russia:

“It’s hard to say at this point, because currently our business plan does not include using the space stations. But, basically to purchase these assets so that if in the future it does make sense to refurbish and launch the space stations, then we have these assets that can be used. So, at the moment, we don’t have a firm time table of how long these assets will be stored here and what the plan will be with them in the future.”

Sounds like they don’t have any clients or funding at the moment. It will be interesting to see how this space station project — and others — progress as NASA gets going on its commercial space transport program. The prospect for viable commercial space station and LEO transport markets would help several of the companies with fund raising and marketing.

Excalibur Almaz Exports Two Space Stations to Isle of Man

An Almaz space station module being transported on the Isle of Man. (Credit: Excalibur Almaz)

EA PRESS RELEASE

Excalibur Almaz Limited (EA), the international commercial space exploration company, is exporting two partially completed Almaz space stations from Russia to the IOM today. The stations and Excalibur Almaz’ reusable return vehicles were developed by EA’s Russian associate, JSC MIC NPO Mashinostroyenia.

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Excalibur Almaz, PlanetSpace Bailing Out Bankrupt Sea Launch

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A bit more information on the Sea Launch bankruptcy reorganization – which includes Excalibur Alaz (which is planning to launch a space station) and U.S.-based PlanetSpace:

Excalibur Almaz and PlanetSpace are working to provide exit financing through Space Launch Services, LLC (“SLS LLC”), as well as equity investment in a reorganized Sea Launch, for the purpose of sustaining reliable commercial access to space. SLS LLC is led by Bohdan (Bo) Bejmuk, an aerospace consultant with in-depth knowledge of space systems and launch vehicles. In parallel with its focus on the reorganization process, Sea Launch successfully completed the launch of the Intelsat 15 satellite on November 30, on a Zenit-3SLB vehicle from the Baikonur Space Center in Kazakhstan. This is Sea Launch’s fourth and final launch campaign of 2009.

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“Planet Earth Team” Hits the Isle of Man

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Isle of Man Today has an interesting story about how one astronaut and two cosmonauts have laid down Cold Era rivalries to work for Excalibur Almaz – a commercial company that is using old Soviet hardware to launch space tourists into orbit.

The space veterans include NASA astronaut Leroy Chiao, a veteran of three Shuttle missions and one Soyuz mission; Colonel Valery Tokarev, a Russian Air Force test pilot and cosmonaut; and Colonel Vladimir Titov, the first man to spend a full year in space.
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Tiny Isle of Man Emerges as Space Power

Island Britain: sleepy Isle of Man moves into the space age
The Times

In a nondescript building on a housing estate in Onchan a company called CVI made the laser optics with which Nasa’s Phoenix Lander spotted snow on Mars last year. Another Manx company, Odyssey Moon, is competing to win the $30million (£18.4million) Google Lunar X prize by putting a robotic landing craft on the Moon. A third, Excalibur Almaz, is developing space tourism.

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Former Soviet Military Platform Being Converted for Space Tourism

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Manx Company buys Soviet Spacecraft
Isle of Man Today

Three Almaz stations were launched into space under the pretence that they were civilian research craft.

The Almaz programme only came to light when the Soviet regime collapsed and there have been reports that the orbiters were armed with cannons normally used on Mig jet fighters so that US satellites could be destroyed if they were used to attack Soviet cosmonauts in space.
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