Air & Space Smithsonian - - Soundings -

ALL JA­PANESE IN­TER­NET MOGUL Taka­fumi Horie wanted was his very own space trans­porta­tion pro­gram to carry peo­ple and cargo to the In­ter­na­tional Space Sta­tion and other des­ti­na­tions in low Earth or­bit. The “Ja­panese Space Dream,” he called it.

The pe­ti­tion that Horie’s lawyers filed in Har­ris County District Court in Texas on Novem­ber 10 su­ing Hous­ton space lawyer Art Dula for fraud, among other things, claims that Dula told Horie he had con­nec­tions to make all this hap­pen. Horie forked over more than $49 mil­lion in a trust as­signed to Dula, who trans­ferred all of the money into an offshore ac­count. The lawyer did in fact use some of the money to buy four space cap­sules and two space sta­tions from Rus­sian rock­etry com­pany NPO Mashinos­troye­nia—but the hard­ware came with re­stric­tions from the Rus­sian govern­ment bar­ring mod­i­fi­ca­tions, mak­ing it all lit­tle more than a col­lec­tion of space toys.

Dula was sued in 2013 for al­legedly de­faud­ing a Texas woman in an as­ter­oid min­ing scheme. That case was mu­tu­ally dis­missed by the par­ties.

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