Re: Mir orbit to be raised, one shuttle visit

Philip Chien (
Sun, 13 Dec 1998 22:35:21 -0500 (Robert Smathers) said:

>Philip Chien wrote:

>> For the life of me I can't see any legitimate justification as to why the
>well, I don't think this is much of a justification, but I would like
>to have pieces of the MIR (or the whole MIR but too expensive to do)
>on exhibit at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.

Quite a few Mir components have been brought back to Earth via the shuttle.
The shuttle has gigantic payload return capabilities, far more than the
small amounts which can be carried back in a Soyuz with the crew.

Much of the returned cargo is pretty mundane - failed gyrodynes and TORU
and Kurs units for refurbishment and reuse (I always thought it would be
more cost effective for the Russians to sell the returned units to
collectors and use the profits to buy new units) and even empty food
containers!  (don't know if they reuse them or what).

There have been many souviners taken home via the shuttle which are
destined for museums.  Jean Loup Chretien flew to Mir well before any U.S.
involvement.  He brought a small electric piano for entertainment which of
course had to stay on Mir due to the limited return cargo capability.  So
he never expected to see it again.  When he visited Mir on the STS-86
mission he found the piano on Mir (and still functional!) and received
permission to take it home via the shuttle.  I believe it's destined for a
"Space Center Houston" display.

There are quite a few investigators who would like to have their hardware
returned to Earth, and I suspect most of them would intend to put those
components in to museums.

But again, I hardly think this - or anything else aboard Mir, justifies a
cargo shuttle.


Philip Chien, KC4YER
Earth News
world (in)famous writer, science fiction fan, ham radio operator,
all-around nice guy, etc.