Russian Academy of Sciences
October 21, 1998
No. 1-11219-2200/264

To the Deputy Head of the Administration of Russian Federation President Mr. A.V.Ogarev

Dear Alexey Viktorovich!

Orbital Station (OS) Mir is the unique space scientific research complex equipped by the most up-to-date equipment and devices. For 13 years a large amount of work in the very different leads was fulfilled and unique results were received on its board. Specifically, very interesting results for astronomy were received after investigation of the flare of the supernova. The circle structures and fractures on the earth's surface were found and investigated for the geophysics. Technologies of producing new semiconductor materials and biocrystals in the weightlessness were developed in the field of the material science; some of these materials have properties not obtainable in the earth's conditions. Tests of the ozone layer and minor gas partials of the atmosphere were carried out for ecology and many others. The most of these results can not be received in the laboratories situated on the earth's surface.

Last time we can hear the proposals to liquidate OS Mir. On RAS opinion it is premature. First the international space station (ISS) Alpha, which is under construction now, will compare to the OS Mir on the amount of information only in 5-7 years.

Secondly, the equipping of the Russian segment of the ISS Alpha with the up-to-date devices will take not less than 5-7 years and will cost not less than 1,5 billion USD. Meanwhile the same equipment on the OS Mir will be lost.

Thirdly, the participation of Russian Federation in the international space projects, including work on the international space station (ISS) Alpha, is to be aimed first of all at the providing of Russian interests. It is obvious that Russian participation in the work on the ISS Alpha will not spread over all the aspects of the space activity. The distribution of the resources of the station among the countries-participants and working regulations are not established yet, but most probably the USA will play the main part.

Fourthly, the other states are interested in the extension of the OS Mir working. For the time of its existence the number of the cosmonauts and astronauts from other countries worked on-board is half as much again more than a number of Russian cosmonauts. Essentially, the OS Mir has gained a status of the international scientific-research orbital station.

In this connection it is quite necessary to extend the OS Mir working in orbit, after thorough analyzing the prospects and revising the program of its further exploitation. The condition of the units of the OS Mir is rather satisfactory, that is why it is possible to prolong its resources for 2-3 years. The further extension of the station resources for 7-10 years can be fulfilled by the replacement of its core vehicle preserving its main modules.

At present the cost of the OS Mir according to the experts' appreciation is about 1,5 billion USD and annual expenses for its exploitation do not exceed 200 million.

In the connection with the above RAS consider it necessary:

  1. To preserve for the very near future (7-10 years) OS Mir. It is reasonable to increase the international part of the working program on its board, and to set up the international foundation for the financing this work with the participation of all interested countries. The means of the foundation will be partly used for the financing the exploitation expenses of the station. And only small amount of work carried out for the state organizations and (partly) RAS will be financed from the budget of Russian Federation. The number of countries that are ready to take active part in the work on the OS Mir and in the activity of the international foundation can be highly considerable because of constant postponing of the ISS Alpha launch. Of course, Russian Federation is to remain among the main participants in the work of constructing the ISS Alpha as it was before.
  2. To give the priority to space researches, which results will find application in the shortest terms in Russian Federation. For this it is necessary to aim the main efforts of the Russian cosmonautics at the investigations of the our planet paying special attention to:

Russian Academy of Sciences' Vice-President,
Academician G.A.Mesyatz.