Private Space Company Obtains Old Russian Space Station Modules


The private spaceflight company Excalibur Almaz has obtained two partially completed Almaz space station modules from Russia and brought them to the company’s home base on the Isle of Man. The modules and Excalibur Almaz’ reusable return vehicles were developed by a Russian company in the 1970’s but were never flown. Excalibur Almaz hopes to offer week-long orbital space flights beginning as early as 2013, using the once top-secret Russian capsules and modules.

In 2009, EA reached an agreement JSC MIC NPO Mashinostroyenia (NPOM) of Russia, the company that originally built the spacecraft, and purchased both the Reusable Return Vehicles rockets and modules for the Almaz space station. In the 1970’s, the RRVs went through nine flight tests, with two RRVs flown to orbit several times.

EA will work on updating the spacecraft to conduct crew and cargo space missions for private individuals, corporations, academic institutions and national governments.

In a press release, EA said the stations will be initially stored, followed by research, testing and possibly completion and launch to orbit.

“EA’s initial flights to orbit will be in the flight tested Excalibur Almaz Reusable Return Vehicles joined to and supported by service module living and working habitats,” EA said. “The space stations themselves are part of EA’s long-term business plan. It is not economically feasible to launch and sustain them on orbit until the company’s flight rate reaches six or more flights per year.”

EA Founder and CEO Art Dula said, “This is another significant landmark towards achieving our stated goals with continuing technical support from leading

The Almaz space stations are approximately 11 meters long and four meters in diameter; and are directly related to the module design used on the International Space Station as well as the earlier Russian Salyut and Mir space stations. Other unique features of the Almaz stations include the largest window ever developed for a spacecraft, boasting over two meters of panoramic view of the Earth and stars.

Source: Excalibur Almaz

11 Replies to “Private Space Company Obtains Old Russian Space Station Modules”

  1. Wouldn’t it be ironic if one of the first private spacefaring companies to orbit humans turned out to be using equipment based on good old 70’s technology? Isle of Man; Truly “The Mouse that Roared”! (But almost certainly based there only because it’s a tax haven.)

  2. Don’t know where they’d launch from. The Isle of Man is only 36 miles long by 18 miles wide and the bits that aren’t mountains are well populated.

  3. So…Excalibur Almaz will use the Sea Launch and Zenit-3SL booster. That means, launches from somewhere closer to the equator?

    1. I am not positive about this assertion, but Excalibur Almaz DID help restructure Sea Launch…

  4. The ship carrying the rocket and capsule will be waiting on station for the customer’s to arrive? The astronauts might helicopter over from a cruise ship which has plenty space aboard to house paparazzi and the curious? Okay, okay… I’ll go.

  5. Interesting company, they are about as Manx as a Persian cat and I can’t seem to find any stock quotes so they are privately funded.

  6. Almaz is the Salyut program which was no better than a space going sewer pipe. This Russian equipment is no more crew friendly than their submarines of the 70’s, floating radioactive sewer pipes dangrous to their crew only.

    1. Yeah, but it does the job!
      Getting there is more important than doing it in style… it’s so superficial!

      1. Nobody with the big bucks needed to pay for this is going to trust poorly designed russian junk from the 70’s with their lives.(let alone the $$$ to put it in orbit) You ever go to a russian hotel? Ever get inside a russian car? That stuff makes “made in china” look good!
        Look how they are slinging it with the crane in the picture…it’s a SEWER PIPE.
        What is going on here is somebody bought this thing for nothing because it’s worth nothing, then they are going to claim that they will use this sea launch take all the investors money along with anyone stupid enough to put a desposit down. This could be some done by those nigerian chain letter scam guys.
        “Excalibur Almaz hopes to offer week-long orbital space flights beginning as early as 2013, using the once top-secret Russian capsules and modules.”…HAHA thats rich, I don’t think the salyut crews lasted that long inside that thing. Guess the only thing still kept secret is that it sucked!

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