Mir may return. MirCorp, a consortium of companies run by an American businessman has agreed to pay more than 20 million USD for the rights to lease Mir for commercial use. It would be used for scientific experiments, and as a tourist trap (probably in the literal sense, too) for the very wealthy. The last price quote I heard was $5 million for a one-week stay at hotel Mir.

This has gotten under the skin of the other member nations in the International Space Station project, most vocally NASA. The reason is that Russian resources that were once slated for the ISS are now being used to restore Mir, subjecting the ISS project to some severe delays. I find the deal a little sketchy too, in that RKK Energia, the Russian Space contractor that is leasing the rights to Mir to MirCorp, also owns 60% of MirCorp.

Number update: According to Mir's home page, the station has now made over 81,000 trips around the world.

Some intersting links:

  1. Mir's home page: http://www.maximov.com/Mir/homepage.asp
    Also lists some communications radio frequencies, if you're tempted talk to some cosmonauts, (or maybe even to try to hack?).
  2. MirCorp's home page: http://www.mirstation.com/
  3. MirNEWS archives to the end of 1999: http://infothuis.nl/muurkrant/mirmain.html