|Mir Space Station
the first consistently inhabited
long-term research space station
Launched into orbit on February 20, 1986, the
station was almost continuously inhabited until
March 23, 2001, when it was de-orbited. In total,
Mir spent 5,519 days in Earth orbit, and was
occupied for 4,592 of them. The only interruption
in occupancy came in 1989, when a
Soyuz spacecraft was damaged on the ground and
rendered unable to fly, keeping the replacement
crew from arriving at Mir before the on-board
crew left the station.
translates into English as "peace,"
"world," and/or "village,"
was constructed by connecting seven different
modules, each launched into orbit separately. The
first module, known as the Core, housed the main
living quarters. All six of the other modules
were attached to the Core. Five of the additional
modules housed various scientific instruments,
while the sixth served as a docking port for the
Over the course of its lifetime, Mir hosted
125 cosmonauts, astronauts, and international crew members. A total of
31 spacecraft docked with the station during this
period, including 9 Space Shuttles, as did
another 64 unmanned cargo vessels. The record for
longest-duration space flight was first broken by
cosmonaut Yuri Romanenko, who spent 326 days
aboard Mir in 1987. That record was subsequently
broken by Vladimir Titov and Musa Manarov, who
spent 366 days aboard the station in 1987-1988.
The ultimate record was set by Valery Polyakov,
who was stationed on Mir from January 7, 1994 to
March 22, 1995, a total of 438 days. Sergei
Avdeyev holds the record for total time in space,
747 days 14 hours 12 minutes (over the course of
Chronology of Major Events
February 20, 1986
The Core Module was launched into earth orbit.
Although not shown live, it wass the first launch
of any Soviet space vehicle to be televised.
March 13, 1986
Leonid Kizim and Vladimir Solovyev were launched
to a rendezvous with Mir. It is the first piloted
launch of a Soviet space vehicle not involving
foreign participation to be broadcast live.
March 15, 1986
Kizim and Solovyev docked at Mir. After
"opening the station for business," the
cosmonauts ferry to the abandoned Salyut 7
station via their Soyuz spacecraft, where they
spend two months gathering instruments and
equipment before returning to Mir.
March 31, 1987 The Kvant 1
module arrived at the station, but the docking
process could not be completed. During a
spacewalk, Yuri Romanenko and Aleksandr Laveykin
found a bag of trash, apparently left behind by a
Progress cargo ship from an earlier mission,
stuck on the docking port. Removal of the trash
allowed the module to be successfully docked with
the core. ["Kvant" is Russian for
"quantum." The principle purpose of the
module is to provide research in astrophysics by
measuring electromagnetic spectra and x-ray
December 1988 French
astronaut Jean-Loup Chrétien conducted the first
The Kvant 2 module was added, providing Mir with
a large air lock, scientific instruments and a
February 1, 1990
Alexander Serebrov used an experimental
"flying armchair" to "fly" up
to 108 feet from the station. On February 5,
Alexander Victorenko flew 148 feet using the same
May 1990 The
Kristall ("crystal") module, housing
observation instruments and used for
semiconductor and biological experiments, was
December 2-10, 1990
Japanese cosmonaut-reporter Toyohiro Akiyama gave
live reports from Mir for a Tokyo-based
May 18-26, 1991
British researcher Helen Sharman, whose mission
was sponsored by private industry, visited Mir.
mid 1991 The
Soviet Union collapsed, leaving the future of Mir
January 14, 1994
As a departing Russo-French crew conducted an
overflight inspection of the station, their Soyuz
TM-17 spacecraft hit the Kristall module at least
October 3, 1994
became the first European Space Agency astronaut
to be stationed aboard Mir.
Spektr ("spectrum," for atmospheric
sensors) module was added, providing living and
working space for American astronauts.
March 14, 1995
Norman Thagard became the first American
astronaut to be be stationed on Mir.
March 22, 1995
Valeri Polyakov returned from Mir after a 438-day
mission, the longest human spaceflight ever to
27-July 7, 1995 Space Shuttle, Atlantis,
March 22, 1996
Space Shuttle Atlantis dropped off
Shannon Lucid for what became a 179-day mission.
Her stay set a U.S. record for long-duration
spaceflight that still stands.
April 23, 1996
The final module, Priroda ("nature"),
February 23, 1997
During a routine ignition of an oxygen-generating
canister, Cosmonaut Alexander Lazutkin suddenly
faced flames. The fire was extinguished within 15
minutes, before major damage was done.
June 12, 1998
Andy Thomas completed a 130-day mission and
became the last American astronaut to work aboard
June 25, 1997
During a test of the system that allowed the Mir
crew to control the docking of the Progress
craft, the 7-ton cargo ship veered off course and
struck the station several times, puncturing the
Spektr module. The crew, including American
Michael Foale, was able to sever cables leading
to the module and seal it off before pressure
inside the station fell dangerously low.
August 28, 1999
Two cosmonauts and a French astronaut completed
the last manned research mission aboard Mir.
April 4-June 16, 2000
Sergei Zalyotin and Alexandr Kaleri prepared Mir
for its eventual de-orbiting.
March 23, 2001
Mir was deliberately de-orbited. The station
broke up over the southern Pacific, and all large
debris fell harmlessly into the open sea.
National Aeronautics and Space
Russian Space Web www.russianspaceweb.com/mir.html
Mir Missions and Crews
First Mir-Atlantis Mission, 1995
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