March 29, 2007 at 6:09 PM ET
This week's story about the bungling of a plea agreement in a multimillion-dollar tax evasion case put a spotlight on defendant Walter Anderson's seemingly opulent lifestyle - and even his taste for airport hamburgers. But there wasn't much emphasis placed on the one-time telecommunication tycoon's space connection, and that's how I knew him best.
Anderson was the principal financial backer of MirCorp, the company that kept Russia's Mir space station in orbit for an extra year and once had aspirations of building private-sector space stations. In that, he anticipated the work currently being carried out by billionaire Robert Bigelow. Anderson also backed other space ventures ranging from the Space Frontier Foundation to Rotary Rocket and Orbital Recovery Corp.
As I've mentioned before, the last thing I heard from Anderson was that he was done with his "15 minutes of fame" - but that was before he had his current bout with infamy.