Tag Archives: Excalibur Almaz

Japanese investor sues Excalibur Almaz

The billionaire investor in the company Excalibur Almaz is suing the lawyer in charge for fraud.

Using the $49 million the billionaire invested, the lawyer purchased several Soviet-era capsules and a Almaz space station module from the Russians, claiming they would use this equipment, once refurbished, to establish a commercial space company. What the lawyer, Art Dura, did not tell anyone was, as the lawsuit explains:

“The purchase contracts had to be approved by the Russian government, and unbeknownst to plaintiff … expressly excluded the right to modify the Russian hardware, thus relegating it to display uses only! The items were only museum pieces, a secret Dula would keep until well after he acquired control of plaintiff’s investment.”

Dula’s vehicle for the scheme was Excalibur Almaz Limited, an entity he set up in the Isle of Man, into which he transferred Horie’s $49 million investment, according to the complaint.

What I find amazing is that the company, Excalibur Almaz, also put out a lot of press releases describing how they were going to use this Russian equipment as part of their space effort. I reported on these releases myself. That Dura was able to keep the contract terms secret, that even the Russians didn’t publicly protest his false statements, is most interesting. Apparently, the Russians were glad to take his money and even help with the fraud, by not revealing the truth when Dura made public claims that were impossible according to the contract.

This story illustrates one of the less obvious investment risks inherent in a new industry such as commercial space. Not only can vehicles crash and burn, there are also a lot of con artists out there willing to take advantage of naive individuals who are so passionate about space exploration that they don’t look closely at what they are doing.

Does the auction sale of an Excalibur Almaz capsule signal the end of this manned space commercial company?

Does the auction sale of an Excalibur Almaz capsule signal the end of this manned space commercial company?

It certainly looks that way, which is tragic in that the company had a very smart and viable idea: Use already built Soviet-era manned space equipment to launch a space hotel and provide a ferry to it for a relatively low cost. The development was already done and the hardware already built. All they had to do is refurbish and update things.

Excalibur Almaz has signed a deal to use Xcor’s Lynx suborbital craft to train its astronauts.

The competition heats up: Excalibur Almaz has signed a deal to use Xcor’s Lynx suborbital craft to train its astronauts.

Since Xcor has not yet flown Lynx, and Excalibur Almaz as a lot of work to do to make its Soviet-era modules flyable, I would bet that this news release is mostly public relations hype, centered as much on raising investment funds for both companies as it is about training astronauts.

Here’s a bit more information on the Excalibur Almaz proposal to launch commercial tourist flights to the Moon using refurbished Soviet-era space stations and capsules.

Here’s a bit more information on the Excalibur Almaz proposal to launch commercial tourist flights to the Moon using refurbished Soviet-era space stations and capsules.

Excalibur Almaz announced plans on Sunday to use its refurbished Soviet-era space station modules and capsules for commercial flights to the lunar orbit.

The competition heats up: Excalibur Almaz announced plans on Sunday to use its refurbished Soviet-era space station modules and capsules for commercial flights to the lunar orbit.