©Kunsthaus Lempertz KG
Excalibur Almaz Reusable Return Vehicle (capsule).
Commercial spaceflight services company Excalibur Almaz recently auctioned one of its assets, a Soviet era space capsule, the Vozvraschaemyi Apparat (VA), at the Brussels auction house Kunsthaus Lempertz KG for €1.26 million euros (US$1.72M).
The capsule, rebranded as the Reusable Return Vehicle, which had previously flown twice by the Soviets in the 70's was to have been an important asset in the Excalibur Almaz spaceflight service.
The sale could signal further assets being sold.
On the surface it seemed all was going well with Excalibur Almaz up until September 2012. An unfunded Space Act Agreement with NASA had been completed successfully but its prospects in NASA's second round of funding for the Commercial Crew Development were slim and ultimately NASA didn't select them.
Then came the news in September 2012 that Excalibur Almaz was being sued by investor Donna Beck, alleging fraud. The lawsuit was eventually settled out of court with no public disclosure of its outcome.
Excalibur Almaz seemingly went dormant after the lawsuit and their website doesn't appear to have been updated since November 2012. One might surmise that with no news in almost a year and a half and with this sale, that the business plan didn't execute and the industry has one less commercial spaceflight company.