Cashing on space

Published: Wednesday 31 January 1996

CASH-STRAPPED Russians want to make money out of Mir, their station in space. Their proposal to raise funds is to make the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) officials use Mir, which will outlive its usefulness sometime in the late '90s, for all activities until Alpha, the us space station, is built. It is difficult for the Russians to maintain Mir and also help other countries in building new facilities in space.

The US is none too happy with the proposal and has countered it with one of its own, as Alpha has finally managed to get the us Congress' go ahead, and mixing both Mir and Alpha could spell trouble for its space programme. "That is the one non-negotiable item," says NASA administrator Daniel S Goldin. NASA's plan is to ask Russia delay its contributions of space data except those crucial for the completion of Alpha and also to shift two of the most modern lab segments from Mir to Alpha once it is completed. The Russian response is awaited.

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