|Mir module launch dates:|
|Mir ("peace" and "world") - Orbital Station||20 February 1986|
|Kvant ("quantum") 1 - Mir astrophysics module||31 March 1987|
|Kvant 2 - Mir scientific/airlock module||26 November 1989|
|Kristall - Materials processing laboratory||31 May 1990|
|Spektr ("spectrum") - Mir technological module||20 May 1995|
|Priroda ("nature") - Remote Earth sensing||23 April 1996|
|Mir deorbit into the South Pacific||23 March 2001|
|The Mir Expeditions|
Notes: Mir has also
been visited by Soyuz TM-3, Soyuz TM-5,
Soyuz TM-6, STS-63 (did
not dock), STS-74,
STS-76, STS-79, STS-81, STS-84, STS-86, STS-89, and STS-91, but
these have not been assigned Mir Expedition designations. There was also a
docking 23-29 May 1986 of the unmanned Soyuz TM-1.
The designations EO- are sometimes reported as Mir-. In other words, EO-26 and Mir-26 are different ways of saying the same thing.
Due to lack of funding, Mir was abandoned when EO-27 (Soyuz TM-29) departed on 28 Aug 1999. The orbit of Mir began to decay, but a resupply mission on 3 Feb 2000 boosted it 40 to 60 km further into space.
EO-28 (Soyuz TM-30) was the first and only privately funded mission. Supposedly, private funding was found to send another mission in 2001. However, the failure to meet commitments by the US/European MirCorp ended plans for Mir to again be continuously occupied for 3 years beginning in 2001.
During its life, Mir survived a fire and a collision with a Progress vessel which left the Spektr module leaking air and unusable. Even these near disasters and numerous problems due to the age of Mir was not enough to deter the Russians. The Soviet/Russian space program proved to be resilient and resourceful. Ultimately, the cost of upkeep was more than the Russian economy could handle, in light of their commitments to the International Space Station.
After twice experiencing power failures in late December 2000, a decision was made to deorbit Mir. There was much concern that Mir, which was 15 years old 20 February 2001, would plunge back to Earth uncontrolled. Russia, however, was able to successfully deorbit the aging Mir and dump it harmlessly into the open waters of the Pacific far east of New Zealand.
Credit - NASA
Credit - NASA
|Click an image to enlarge|
The above photo on the right shows the space shuttle Atlantis (STS-71) docked with Mir on 4 July 1995. Photo was taken from Soyuz TM-21. The Soyuz had undocked and backed off before Atlantis undocked. Soyuz TM-21 then returned and redocked.