Spaceflight Now: Breaking News

MirCorp seeks sponsorship, advertising for space station
Posted: July 11, 2000

Mir orbiting Earth. Photo: NASA
Russia's Mir space station has been opened for sponsorship and advertising opportunities through an agreement signed by MirCorp with GPC International.

Commercial possibilities range from the flight of products and material onboard the manned orbital facility to the corporate sponsorship of a Mir space station habitation module.

"This agreement is a historic step in space commercialization," Andrew Eddy, MirCorp's Senior Vice President-Business Development said. "It provides for unique sponsorship and advertising tie-ins with a manned orbital facility that has come to symbolize what business can do in space."

Eddy noted that with the Mir station, advertisers and sponsors will be able to take their messages directly into space for long-term, high profile marketing exposure.

The commercial opportunities begin with advertising and promotion rights starting at $100,000, and culminate with the corporate sponsorship of one of Mir's six habitation modules at $9 million per year.

MirCorp has rights to the Russian Mir facility through a commercial lease arrangement effective for station's operational lifetime. The company funded the first privately backed manned flight to a space station earlier this year, and will begin a series of "Citizen Explorer" missions with private astronauts/cosmonauts in 2001. The first announced Citizen Explorer is American businessman Dennis Tito.

GPC International is a worldwide strategic communications consulting, public affairs and government relations company owned by the Omnicom group. Based in Toronto, Canada, GPC International has offices in 17 countries.

"Millions of dollars in revenue already are being generated annually through merchandize sales with space-related movies, visits to space camps and museums, and on space-branded products," Henry Storgaard, GPC International's Vice President, Sponsorship, said. "Companies are now able to take the next step by being directly associated with Mir the world's best known space facility."

Examples of sponsorship and advertising packages available with Mir are:

  • Corporate naming of a Mir habitation module -- The Mir station was created through the in-orbit assembly of six large building-block modules. Each of these modules is available for naming rights that include placement of the sponsor's logo inside and outside the module, mention of the company name whenever crewmembers use the module, and cosmonauts' endorsement of company products.

  • Mir official supplier status -- Official supplier status for Mir is open to 10 companies. The package includes use of the companies' product or service aboard Mir, logo placement on the Soyuz manned capsule that transports cosmonauts to and from Mir, and the opportunity to host a live press conference from the space station.

  • "Citizen Explorer" mission sponsorship (including the upcoming Dennis Tito mission) -- Four companies will be offered an opportunity to sponsor the flight of a "Citizen Explorer" to Mir, benefiting from the publicity surrounding the high-profile mission. As part of the sponsorship, the company will be able to send as much as 2 kilograms of material to Mir and have it returned to Earth.

  • Advertising and Promotion rights -- Mir offers an unparalleled means of promoting products. Sponsors will have the right to use the Mir and MirCorp name, image and logo in their promotion. Benefits include the availability and use of Mir-branded merchandize, links to the Mir Internet Website and portal (, VIP tours of Russian space facilities, and invitations to attend launches of missions to Mir from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The Mir space station entered service in 1986 and has been visited by more than 100 cosmonauts and astronauts from countries that include Russia, the U.S., France, Germany, Japan, Austria, the United Kingdom, Slovakia and Kazakhstan.

MirCorp was formed earlier this year to operate as a direct link between commercial users of Mir and the space station's Russian operators. In February, MirCorp signed a first-of-its kind commercial lease agreement for Mir with RSC Energia -- the Russian space systems manufacturer that built and operates the space station.

The Holland-based MirCorp acts as a commercial facilitator, beginning with the establishment of conditions for Mir's use, and continuing through the successful completion of a user's activity onboard the station.