Re: Emergency on Mir

Walter Nissen (dk058@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Wed, 25 Jun 1997 10:38:39 -0400 (EDT)

Many thanks to Igor Lissov for his early alert about the trouble on Mir; 
and also to for his earlier advice about the same 
mission.  The American news media are obviously now playing catch-up, 
often relying on a NASA source.  The following good report was just posted 
to Mercury Center Breaking News (San Jose Mercury-News), 
Walter Nissen  
Posted at 6:32 a.m. PDT Wednesday, June 25, 1997 
Mir collision causes decompression in one module (6/25/1997) 
MOSCOW (AP) -- A Russian cargo ship crashed into the space station Mir today 
as cosmonauts practiced docking the ship manually, Russian officials said. 
The three crew members -- including an American -- were safe. 
The crew watched as the Progress ship, filled with garbage, moved toward the 
Mir and collided into a module during a test, said NASA spokesman Rob Navias. 
A solar panel on the module was damaged, and pressure began to drop inside. 
``It's heading toward zero,'' Navias said. 
Navias said there was no plan to abandon Mir. A Soyuz spacecraft always is 
docked to the station for such purposes. 
The collision took place at 1:20 p.m. Moscow time (5:20 a.m. EDT) while the 
crew was using manual controls to practice docking the Progress cargo ship, 
she said. 
The crew hurriedly sealed off the module to prevent a further drop in pressure 
in the rest of the sprawling station. 
There was no immediate danger to the Mir's Russian-American crew, said Vera 
Medvedkova, a spokeswoman for the Russian Mission Control Center near Moscow. 
The cargo ship was disconnected from the Mir on Tuesday. The crew tried to 
re-dock it today, but it hit the module's solar battery, Medvedkova said. 
In addition to American Michael Foale, the Mir is staffed by Russian 
cosmonauts Vasily Tsibliyev and Alexander Lazutkin. 
Russian space officials were deciding how to fix the problem on the Spektr 
module, and were also trying to determine what they should do with the cargo 
ship, now orbiting the earth close to the space station. 
The docking experiment was intended for the cosmonauts' training and for 
testing the control equipment. Russian officials wanted to improve the manual 
docking system so that it can fully replace automatic docking equipment, which 
has repeatedly failed in recent years. 
The Progress, launched with crucial supplies and repair equipment in April, 
was supposed to redock this morning and then be jettisoned for good on 
Saturday, Navias said. It eventually will burn up in the atmosphere. 
Foale has been living on Mir since mid-May, when he replaced Jerry Linenger, 
who experienced a series of problems during his four-month visit, including a 
near-miss with a Progress and a fire. 
Today's collision is the latest in a string of problems on the 11-year old 
Mir, which was designed to last only five years. 
Recent breakdowns have led to friction between Russian and U.S. space 
officials, as the American side questioned the station's safety. Russian
authorities insist the Mir is safe to operate.

COPR 1996-7 Mercury Center.