Sunday, May 9, 2010

Heinlein Prize Trust’s investment in bankrupt satellite launcher grounded by Russian company

The Moscow Times and report that Russian space corporation Energia has received preliminary approval from a United States bankruptcy court to provide $30 million in financing to fund the operating costs of Sea Launch Co., a bankrupt satellite launcher, possibly with the intention of purchasing the California-based company. About $19 of the $30 million will replace funding that Sea Launch was expected to receive from Space Launch Services LLC and the Heinlein Prize Trust.

Space Launch Services LLC is a mysterious company alleged to include Arthur “Art” M. Dula, a Houston attorney and CEO of Excalibur Almaz, a private spaceflight company based in Isle of Man. A longtime commercial space enthusiast, Dula is also executor of the literary estate of legendary science fiction author Robert A. Heinlein and one of three trustees who oversee the Heinlein Prize Trust. A second Heinlein trustee, Buckner Hightower, is also a top executive at Excalibur Almaz.

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