MirCorp says it still needs $100 million to support further flights to the Russian Mir space station. Meanwhile, Soyuz TM30 cosmonauts Sergei Zaletin and Alexander Kaleri prepared to return to Earth as Flight International went to press after their commercially funded Mir mission.

MirCorp is considering raising funding through an initial public offering. A second flight, possibly with a commercial passenger, is planned for November. Undeterred by funding problems, MirCorp says that by the third mission in early 2001, Mir will be in "full-scale commercial operations", as part of a three-phase, 10-year plan to keep it in orbit.

The first mission involved stabilising Mir's orbit and carrying out repairs, which will continue until 2002. A second phase will add new solar panels and communications links, and phase three will include core module replacement.

Source: Flight International