The greenbacks continue to flow but will they be enough to clean up before the tourists arrive or will they get chores to do.
The money will hopefully be deposited in the account of rocket maker Energia, which currently handles Mir's finances, as early as in May, Yuri Koptev told a news conference.
Some $20 million in off-budget funds were found the space station earlier. Koptev said this money made it possible to resume manned missions to Mir, and finance the launch of a manned Soyuz-TM- 30 space craft to the space station and two new modified cargo ships, the Progress M1-1 and Progress M1-2.
But Koptev said the issue of 1.5 billion rubles in state budget funding for Mir has not been settled yet, although efforts are being made to resolve the problem.
Koptev could not confirm that Mir would be kept in orbit in 2001. He said a decision had been made to keep Mir in operation until August and simultaneously prepare a Progress cargo ship for launch.
If funding is not found by then, a ship with a double load of fuel will have to be sent to Mir, and the station's orbit will be gradually lowered. In this case Mir would be sunk in the Pacific Ocean in October 2000.
Orbiting Russian ISS Node Proving Reliable
Moscow (Interfax) May 1, 2000 - The Russian made Zarya functional module of the International Space Station (ISS) is demonstrating its reliability.