Shuttle-Mir Program


Shuttle-Mir Program

The Shuttle–Mir Program was a collaborative space program between Russia and the United States, which involved American Space Shuttles visiting the Russian space station "Mir", Russian cosmonauts flying on the shuttle and American astronauts engaging in long-duration expeditions aboard "Mir".

The program, sometimes called 'Phase One', was intended to allow the United States to learn from Russian experience into long-duration spaceflight and to foster a spirit of cooperation between the two nations and their respective space agencies, NASA and RKA. It would prepare the way for further cooperative space ventures; specifically, 'Phase Two' of the joint project, the construction of the International Space Station. Announced in 1993 with the first mission occurring in 1994, the program continued until its scheduled completion in 1998, and consisted of eleven shuttle missions, a joint Soyuz flight and almost 1000 days in space for American astronauts over seven expeditions.

During the four-year program, many 'firsts' in spaceflight were obtained by the two nations, including the first American astronaut to launch aboard a Soyuz spacecraft, the largest spacecraft ever flown at that time in history, and the first American spacewalk using a Russian Orlan spacesuit.

The program was, however, marred by various concerns, notably the safety of "Mir" following a fire and collision on board the station, financial issues with the cash-strapped Russian Space Program and worries from astronauts about the attitudes of the program administrators. Nevertheless, a large amount of science, expertise in space station construction and knowledge in working in a cooperative space venture was gained from the combined operations, allowing the construction of the ISS to proceed much more smoothly than would have been likely.

Background

In June 1992, American president George H. W. Bush and Russian president Boris Yeltsin agreed to join hands in space exploration by signing the "Agreement between the United States of America and the Russian Federation Concerning Cooperation in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space for Peaceful Purposes". The agreement called for the setting up a short, joint space program, during which one US astronaut would board the Russian space station "Mir" and two Russian cosmonauts would board a Space Shuttle. In September 1993, however, American Vice-president Al Gore and Russian prime minister Viktor Chernomyrdin announced plans for a new space station, later to be called the International Space Station, or ISS. They also agreed that, in preparation for this new project, America would be largely involved in the "Mir" program in the years ahead, under the code name 'Phase One' (the construction of the ISS being 'Phase Two'). [cite web
title = Shuttle-Mir History/Background/How "Phase 1" Started
publisher = NASA
date = April 4, 2004
last = Dismukes
first = Kim
authorlink = Kim Dismukes
url = http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/history/shuttle-mir/history/h-b-start.htm
accessdate = 2007-04-12
]

During the course of the program, eleven Space Shuttle missions flew to the station, carrying out crew exchanges, flying a docking module and a new set of solar arrays to "Mir" and conducting myriad scientific experiments aboard the space station. The program also saw the launch of two new modules, "Spektr" and "Priroda", to "Mir", which were used by American astronauts as living quarters and laboratories to conduct the majority of their science aboard the station. These missions allowed NASA and the Russian Federal Space Agency to learn a great deal about how best to work with international partners in space and how to minimise the risks associated with assembling a large space station — the ISS — in orbit. [cite web
title = Shuttle-Mir History/Welcome/Goals
publisher = NASA
url = http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/history/shuttle-mir/welcome/w-g-goals.htm
date = April 4, 2004
last = Dismukes
first = Kim
authorlink = Kim Dismukes
accessdate = 2007-04-12
] cite paper
author = George C. Nield & Pavel Mikhailovich Vorobiev
title = Phase One Program Joint Report
publisher = NASA
date = January 1999
url = http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/history/shuttle-mir/references/documents/phase1-joint-report.pdf
format = PDF
accessdate = 2007-03-30
]

In addition to these scientific advances, the program also served as a political ruse on the part of the American government, providing diplomatic channel for NASA to take part in the funding of the cripplingly under-funded Russian space program. This in turn allowed the newly-fledged Russian government to keep "Mir" operating, in addition to the space program as a whole (a purpose which continues into Phase Two), ensuring the Russian government remained (and remains) friendly towards the United States.

Increments

In addition to the flights of the Shuttle to "Mir", Phase One also featured seven 'Increments' aboard the station, long-duration flights aboard "Mir" by American astronauts. The seven astronauts who took part in the Increments, Norman Thagard, Shannon Lucid, John Blaha, Jerry Linenger, Michael Foale, David Wolf and Andrew Thomas, were each flown in turn to Star City, Russia, to undergo training in various aspects of the operation of "Mir" and the Soyuz spacecraft used for transport to and from the Station. The astronauts also received practice in carrying out spacewalks outside "Mir" and lessons in the Russian language, which would be used throughout their missions to talk with the other cosmonauts aboard the station and Mission Control in Russia, the TsUP.

During their expeditions aboard "Mir", the astronauts carried out various experiments, including growth of crops and crystals, and took hundreds of photographs of the Earth spinning serenely beneath them. They also assisted in the maintenance and repair of the aging station, following various incidents with fires, collisions, power losses, uncontrolled spins and toxic leaks.

In all, the American astronauts would spend almost a thousand days aboard "Mir", allowing NASA to learn a great deal about long-duration spaceflight, particularly in the areas of astronaut psychology and how best to arrange experiment schedules for crews aboard space stations.Citation
last = Burrough
first = Bryan
author-link = Bryan Burrough
year = 1998
date = January 7, 1998
title = Dragonfly: NASA and the Crisis Aboard Mir
place = London, UK
publisher = Fourth Estate Ltd.
isbn = 1-84115-087-8
url = http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dragonfly-NASA-Crisis-Aboard-Mir/dp/1841150878/ref=sr_1_2/202-3649698-1866219?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1173807659&sr=8-2
] Citation
last = Linenger
first = Jerry
author-link = Jerry Linenger
year = 2001
date = January 1, 2001
title = Off the Planet: Surviving Five Perilous Months Aboard the Space Station Mir
place = New York, USA
publisher = McGraw-Hill
isbn = 978-0071372305
url = http://www.amazon.co.uk/Off-Planet-Surviving-Perilous-Station/dp/007137230X/ref=sr_1_1/202-3649698-1866219?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1174383967&sr=8-1
]

Mir

"Mir" herself was the world's first modular space station, constructed between 1986 and 1996. She was humanity's first consistently inhabited long-term research station in space, and currently holds the record for longest continuous human presence in space, at eight days short of 10 years. "Mir's" purpose was to provide a large and habitable scientific laboratory in space, and, through a number of collaborations, including Phase One, she was made internationally accessible to cosmonauts and astronauts of many different countries. The station existed until 23 March 2001, at which point she was deliberately deorbited, and broke apart during atmospheric re-entry.

"Mir" was based upon the Salyut series of space stations previously launched by the Soviet Union (seven Salyut space stations had been launched since 1971), and was mainly serviced by Russian-manned Soyuz spacecraft and Progress cargo ships. It was also anticipated that she would also be the destination for flights by the later-abandoned Buran space shuttle. The visiting US Space Shuttles used a Androgynous Peripheral Attach System docking collar originally designed for Buran, mounted on a bracket originally designed for use with the American Space Station Freedom.

With the Space Shuttle docked to "Mir" the temporary enlargements of living and working areas amounted to a complex that was the world's largest spacecraft at that time in space history, with a combined mass of 250 metric tonnes. [cite paper
author = David S. F. Portree
title = Mir Hardware Heritage
publisher = NASA
date = March 1995
url = http://ston.jsc.nasa.gov/collections/TRS/_techrep/RP1357.pdf
format = PDF
accessdate = 2007-03-30
] [cite book
last = Harland
first = David
authorlink = David M. Harland
title = The Story of Space Station Mir
publisher = Springer-Verlag New York Inc.
date = November 30, 2004
location = New York
url = http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0387230114/ref=ord_cart_shr/202-3649698-1866219?%5Fencoding=UTF8&m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE
id = 978-0387230115
]

pace Shuttle

NASA's Space Shuttle, officially called the Space Transportation System (STS), is the United States government's current manned launch vehicle. A total of five usable orbiters were built, of which three remain. The winged shuttle Orbiter is launched vertically, usually carrying five to seven astronauts (although eight have been carried and eleven could be accommodated in an emergency) along with up to 50,000 lb (22,700 kg) of payload into low earth orbit. When its mission is complete, it fires its manoeuvring thrusters to drop out of orbit and re-enters the Earth's atmosphere. During the descent and landing, the shuttle Orbiter acts as a glider and makes a completely unpowered landing.

The Shuttle is the first orbital spacecraft designed for partial reusability. It carries large payloads to various orbits, and, during the Shuttle-Mir and ISS programs, provides crew rotation and carries various supplies, modules and pieces of equipment to the stations. Each Shuttle was designed for a projected lifespan of 100 launches or 10 years' operational life.

During the course of Phase One, "Mir" was visited by Space Shuttles "Discovery", "Atlantis" and "Endeavour", with "Atlantis" in particular flying seven straight missions to the station from 1995 – 1997. Space Shuttle "Columbia", the oldest and heaviest of the fleet, was incapable of efficient operations at "Mir"'s (and later ISS's) 51.6 degree inclination and was not equipped with an external airlock, required for space station dockings.cite paper
author = Sue McDonald
title = Mir Mission Chronicle
publisher = NASA
date = December 1998
url = http://ston.jsc.nasa.gov/collections/TRS/_techrep/TP-1998-208920.pdf
format = PDF
accessdate = 2007-03-30
] [cite web
title = Shuttle-Mir History/Spacecraft/Space Shuttle Orbiter
publisher = NASA
last = Dismukes
first = Kim
authorlink = Kim Dismukes
date = April 4, 2004
url = http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/history/shuttle-mir/spacecraft/to-s-orb.htm
accessdate = 2007-03-30
] cite web
title = Columbia
publisher = Encyclopedia Astronautica
first = Mark
last = Wade
authorlink = Mark Wade
url = http://www.astronautix.com/craft/columbia.htm
accessdate = 2007-04-16
]

Timeline

New cooperation begins (1994)

Phase One finally began on 3 February 1994 with the launch of Space Shuttle "Discovery" on its 18th mission, STS-60, the first shuttle flight of that year. The eight-day mission was the first ever flight of a Russian Cosmonaut, Sergei Krikalev, aboard the American shuttle, and marked the opening of a new era in cooperative spaceflight for the two nations, thirty-seven years after the Space Race began. [Citation
last = Harwood
first = William
author-link = William Harwood
title = Space Shuttle Launch Begins Era of US-Russian Cooperation
newspaper = Washington Post
pages = a3
year = 1994
date = February 4, 1994
publisher = Retrieved March 9, 2007 from NewsBank
] As part of an international agreement on human space flight, the mission was the second flight of the Spacehab pressurised module and marked the 100th "Getaway Special" payload to fly in space. The primary payload for the mission, the Wake Shield Facility, was designed to generate new semiconductor films for advanced electronics, and was flown at the end of "Discovery"'s robotic arm over the course of the flight. During the mission, the astronauts aboard "Discovery" also carried out various experiments aboard the Spacehab module in the Orbiter's payload bay, and took part in a live bi-directional audio and downlink video hookup between themselves and the three Cosmonauts on board "Mir", Valeri Polyakov, Viktor Afanasyev and Yury Usachev (flying "Mir" expeditions LD-4 and EO-15).cite web
title = Shuttle-Mir History/Shuttle Flights and Mir Increments
publisher = NASA
url = http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/history/shuttle-mir/history/h-flights.htm
accessdate = 2007-03-30
] [cite web
title = STS-60 Mission Summary
publisher = NASA
first = Jim
last = Dumoulin
authorlink = Jim Dumoulin
date = 29 June 2001
url = http://science.ksc.nasa.gov/shuttle/missions/sts-60/mission-sts-60.html
accessdate = 2007-03-30
]

America arrives at "Mir" (1995)

1995 began with the launch, on February 3, of STS-63, the second Space Shuttle flight in the program and the first flight of the shuttle with a female pilot, Eileen Collins. Referred to as the "near-"Mir" mission, the flight saw the first rendezvous of a Space Shuttle with "Mir" during an eight day mission which carried Russian Cosmonaut Vladimir Titov and the rest of "Discovery"'s crew to within convert|37|ft|m of "Mir", before Collins performed a flyaround of the station. The mission, a dress rehearsal for the first docked mission in the program, STS-71, also carried out testing of various techniques and pieces of equipment that would be used during the docking missions that followed. [cite web
title = STS-63 Mission Summary
first = Jim
last = Dumoulin
authorlink = Jim Dumoulin
publisher = NASA
date = 29 June 2001
url = http://science.ksc.nasa.gov/shuttle/missions/sts-63/mission-sts-63.html
accessdate = 2007-03-30
] [Citation
last = Sawyer
first = Kathy
author-link = Kathy Sawyer
title = US & Russia Find Common Ground in Space - Nations Overcome Hurdles in Ambitious Partenership
newspaper = Washington Post
pages = a1
year = 1995
date = January 29, 1995
publisher = Retrieved March 9, 2007 from NewsBank
]

A few months after "Discovery"'s flight, the March 14 launch of Soyuz TM-21 saw first launch of an American astronaut, Norman Thagard, aboard a Soyuz spacecraft. The flight carried expedition EO-18 to "Mir", consisting of Cosmonauts Vladimir Dezhurov & Gennady Strekalov along with Thagard, ready for the first American Increment of the program. During the course of their 115 day expedition, the "Spektr" science module (which served as living and working space for American astronauts) was launched aboard a Proton rocket and docked to "Mir", along with more than 1500 pounds of research equipment from America and other nations. The expedition's crew returned to Earth aboard Space Shuttle "Atlantis" following the first Shuttle-Mir docking during mission STS-71.List of Mir Expeditions] [cite web
title = Mir News 247: Flight of Soyuz-TM21
publisher = Encyclopedia Astronautica
Chris van den Berg
first = Chris
last = van den Berg
date = 16 March 1995
url = http://www.astronautix.com/details/mir50720.htm
accessdate = 2007-03-30
]

The primary objectives of STS-71, launched on 27 June, were to rendezvous Space Shuttle "Atlantis" with "Mir" and, on 29 June, perform the first docking between an American Space Shuttle and the station, the first US-Russian docking since the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975. [Citation
last = Scott
first = David
author-link = David Scott
last2 = Leonov
first2 =Alexei
author2-link = Alexei Leonov
title = Two Sides of the Moon
publisher = Pocket Books
year = 2005
date = April 30, 2005
isbn = 978-0743450676
url = http://www.amazon.co.uk/Two-Sides-Moon-Story-Space/dp/0743450671/ref=sr_1_1/202-3649698-1866219?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1174408964&sr=1-1
] Following docking on June 29, "Atlantis" delivered expedition EO-19 to "Mir", consisting of two cosmonauts, Anatoly Solovyev & Nikolai Budarin, carried out on-orbit joint US-Russian life sciences investigations aboard a Spacelab module, performed a logistical resupply of the station and picked up American astronaut Norman Thagard & the rest of the EO-18 crew for their return to Earth. [cite web
title = STS-71 Mission Summary
first = Jim
last = Dumoulin
authorlink = Jim Dumoulin
publisher = NASA
date = 29 June 2001
url = http://science.ksc.nasa.gov/shuttle/missions/sts-71/mission-sts-71.html
accessdate = 2007-03-30
] [Citation
last = Nuttall
first = Nick
author-link = Nick Nuttall
title = Shuttle homes in for Mir docking
newspaper = The Times
year = 1995
date = June 29, 1995
publisher = Retrieved March 9, 2007 from NewsBank
]

The final Shuttle flight of 1995, STS-74, began with the November 12 launch of Space Shuttle "Atlantis", and delivered the Russian-built Docking Module to "Mir", along with a new pair of solar arrays and other hardware upgrades for the station. The Docking Module was designed to provide more clearance for Shuttles in order to prevent any collisions with "Mir's" solar arrays during docking, a problem which had been overcome during STS-71 by relocating the station's "Kristall" module to a different location on the station. The module, attached to "Kristall"'s docking port, prevented the need for this procedure on further missions. During the course of the flight, nearly 1000 pounds of water were transferred to "Mir" and experiment samples including blood, urine and saliva were moved to "Atlantis" for return to Earth. [cite web
title = CSA - STS-74 - Daily Reports
publisher = Canadian Space Agency
date = October 30, 1999
url = http://www.space.gc.ca/asc/eng/missions/sts-074/reports.asp
accessdate = 2007-04-15
] [cite web
title = STS-74 Mission Summary
first = Jim
last = Dumoulin
authorlink = Jim Dumoulin
publisher = NASA
date = 29 June 2001
url = http://science.ksc.nasa.gov/shuttle/missions/sts-74/mission-sts-74.html
accessdate = 2007-03-30
] [Citation
last = Harwood
first = William
author-link = William Harwood
title = Space Shuttle docks with Mir - Atlantis uses manoeuvres similar to those needed for construction
newspaper = Washington Post
pages = a3
year = 1995
date = November 15, 1995
publisher = Retrieved March 9, 2007 from NewsBank
]

"Priroda", fire and collision (1996–1997)

1996 saw the beginning of the continuous US presence aboard "Mir", with STS-76, launching on March 22, carrying the second Increment astronaut, Shannon Lucid, to the station. The third docking mission, which again used Space Shuttle "Atlantis", demonstrated logistics capabilities with a Spacehab module, and placed experiment packages on "Mir"'s docking module during the first docked spacewalk, as well as transferring Lucid to "Mir" for her stay. The spacewalks, carried out from "Atlantis's" crew cabin, provided experience for astronauts in order to prepare for later assembly missions to the International Space Station. [Citation
last = Harwood
first = William
author-link = William Harwood
title = Shuttle becomes hard-hat area; spacewalking astronauts practice tasks necessary to build station
newspaper = Washington Post
pages = a3
year = 1996
date = March 28, 1996
publisher = Retrieved March 9, 2007 from NewsBank
]

In a record-breaking stay, Lucid became the first American woman to live on station, and, following a six-week extension to her Increment due to issues with Shuttle Solid Rocket Boosters, her 188-day mission set the US single spaceflight record. During Lucid's time aboard "Mir", the "Priroda" module, with about 2200 pounds of US science hardware, was docked to "Mir". Lucid made use of both "Priroda" and "Spektr" to carry out 28 different science experiments and serve as the US living quarters. [cite web
title = STS-76 Mission Summary
first = Jim
last = Dumoulin
authorlink = Jim Dumoulin
publisher = NASA
date = 29 June 2001
url = http://science.ksc.nasa.gov/shuttle/missions/sts-76/mission-sts-76.html
accessdate = 2007-03-30
]

Lucid's stay aboard the station finally came to a halt with the flight of "Atlantis" on STS-79, which launched on September 16, and was the first Shuttle mission to carry a double Spacehab module. During the mission, more than 4000 pounds of supplies were transferred to "Mir", including water generated by "Atlantis"'s fuel cells, and experiments including investigations into superconductors, cartilage development, and other biology studies. About 2000 pounds of experiment samples and equipment were also transferred back from "Mir" to "Atlantis", making the total 6000 pound transfer the most extensive yet. [ Soon, Sunita Williams broke Lucid's record, by staying on board the International Space Station for 195 days.Citation
last = Harwood
first = William
author-link = William Harwood
title = Lucid transfers from Mir to Space Shuttle
newspaper = Washington Post
pages = a3
year = 1996
date = September 20, 1996
publisher = Retrieved March 9, 2007 from NewsBank
]

This, the fourth docking, also saw John Blaha transferring onto "Mir" to take his place as resident Increment astronaut, with his stay on the station improving operations in several areas, including transfer procedures for a docked space shuttle, "hand-over" procedures for long duration American crew members and "Ham" amateur radio communications.

During his time aboard the station, two spacewalks were carried out in order to remove electrical power connectors from a 12-year old solar power array on the base block and reconnect the cables to the more efficient new solar power arrays recently delivered to the station. In all, Blaha spent four months with the Mir-22 Cosmonaut crew conducting material science, fluid science, and life science research, before returning to Earth the next year aboard "Atlantis" on STS-81. [cite web
title = STS-79 Mission Summary
first = Jim
last = Dumoulin
authorlink = Jim Dumoulin
publisher = NASA
date = 29 June 2001
url = http://science.ksc.nasa.gov/shuttle/missions/sts-79/mission-sts-79.html
accessdate = 2007-03-30
]

The year 1997 would prove to be an interesting one for the program, beginning with the first Shuttle flight for that year, STS-81, replacing Increment astronaut John Blaha with Jerry Linenger, after Blaha's 118-day stay aboard "Mir". During this fifth docking of a shuttle, the crew of "Atlantis" moved supplies to the station and returned to Earth the first plants to complete a life cycle in space, a crop of wheat planted by Shannon Lucid. During five days of mated operations, the crews transferred nearly 6000 pounds of logistics to "Mir", and transferred 2,400 pounds of materials back to "Atlantis" (the most materials transferred between the two spacecraft to that date).

The STS-81 crew also tested the Shuttle Treadmill Vibration Isolation and Stabilization System (TVIS), designed for use in the "Zvezda" module of the International Space Station. The shuttle's small vernier jet thrusters were also fired during the mated operations to gather engineering data for 'reboosting' the ISS. After undocking, "Atlantis" performed a fly-around of "Mir", leaving Linenger aboard the station for the most eventful Increment to date. [cite web
title = STS-81 Mission Summary
first = Jim
last = Dumoulin
authorlink = Jim Dumoulin
publisher = NASA
date = 29 June 2001
url = http://science.ksc.nasa.gov/shuttle/missions/sts-81/mission-sts-81.html
accessdate = 2007-03-30
]

During his Increment, Linenger became the first American to conduct a spacewalk from a foreign space station and in a non-American made spacesuit, performing the first test of the Russian-built Orlan-M spacesuit alongside Russian cosmonaut Vasili Tsibliyev. All three crewmembers of expedition EO-23 also performed a "fly-around" in the Soyuz spacecraft, first undocking from one docking port of the station, then manually flying to and redocking the capsule at a different location. This made Linenger the first American to undock from a space station aboard two different spacecraft (Space Shuttle and Soyuz).

However, the Increment did not go smoothly, with Linenger and his Russian crewmates Vasili Tsibliyev & Aleksandr Lazutkin facing several difficulties including the most severe fire ever aboard an orbiting spacecraft (caused by a backup oxygen-generating device), failures of various on board systems, a near collision with a Progress resupply cargo ship during a long-distance manual docking system test and a total loss of station electrical power and, as a result, attitude control, resulting in a slow, uncontrolled "tumble" through space. [cite web
title = Mir News 376: Soyuz-TM26
publisher = Encyclopedia Astronautica
last = van den Berg
first = Chris
authorlink = Chris van den Berg
date = August 8, 1997
url = http://www.astronautix.com/details/mir50763.htm
accessdate = 2007-03-30
]

Linenger was eventually succeeded by Anglo-American astronaut Michael Foale, carried up by "Atlantis" on STS-84, alongside Russian mission specialist Elena Kondakova. The STS-84 crew transferred 249 items between the two spacecraft, along with water, experiment samples, supplies and hardware. One of the first items transferred to "Mir" was an Elektron oxygen-generating unit, especially important after the fire that had occurred on February 23. In addition, during undocking on May 21, the crew stopped "Atlantis" three times while backing away, to collect data from a European sensor device designed for future rendezvous of ESA's Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) with the International Space Station. [cite web
title = STS-84 Mission Summary
first = Jim
last = Dumoulin
authorlink = Jim Dumoulin
publisher = NASA
date = 29 June 2001
url = http://science.ksc.nasa.gov/shuttle/missions/sts-84/mission-sts-84.html
accessdate = 2007-03-30
]

Foale's Increment proceeded fairly normally until June 25, when during the second test of the "Progress" manual docking system, TORU, the resupply ship collided with solar arrays on the "Spektr" module and crashed into the module's outer shell, holing the module and causing a depressurisation of the station, the first ever on-orbit depressurisation in the history of spaceflight. Only quick actions on the part of the crew, cutting cables leading to the module and closing "Spektr's" hatch, prevented the crew abandoning the station in their Soyuz lifeboat. Their efforts stabilised the station's air pressure, whilst the pressure in "Spektr", containing many of Foale's experiments and personal effects, dropped to a vacuum. Fortunately, food, water and other vital supplies were stored in other modules, and remarkable salvage and replanning effort by Foale and the science community maximized the scientific return.

In an effort to restore some of the power and systems lost following the isolation of "Spektr" and to attempt to locate the leak, "Mir's" new commander Anatoly Solovyev and flight engineer Pavel Vinogradov carried out a risky salvage operation later in the mission, entering the empty module during a so-called "IVA" spacewalk, inspecting the condition of hardware and running cables through a special hatch from "Spektr's" systems to the rest of the station. Following these first investigations, Foale and Solovyev conducted a 6-hour EVA on the surface of "Spektr" to inspect the damage to the punctured module. [Citation
last = Hoffman
first = David
author-link = David Hoffman
title = Crucial Mir spacewalk carries high hopes - continued Western support could hinge on mission's success
newspaper = Washington Post
pages = a1
year = 1997
date = August 22, 1997
publisher = Retrieved March 9, 2007 from NewsBank
]

After the disasters, the US Congress and NASA considered whether the US should abandon the program out of concern for astronauts' safety, but NASA administrator Daniel Goldin decided to continue the program, with the next flight, STS-86, bringing Increment astronaut David Wolf aboard "Mir".

STS-86 performed the seventh Shuttle-Mir docking, the last of 1997. During "Atlantis"'s stay crew members Titov and Parazynski conducted the first joint US-Russian extravehicular activity during a Shuttle mission, and the first in which a Russian wore a US spacesuit. During the 5-hour spacewalk on, the pair affixed a 121-pound Solar Array Cap to the Docking Module, for a future attempt by crew members to seal off the leak in Spektr's hull. The mission returned Foale to Earth, along with samples, hardware, and an old Elektron oxygen generator, and dropped Wolf off on the Station ready for his 128 day Increment. Wolf had originally been scheduled to be the final "Mir" astronaut, but was chosen to go on the Increment instead of astronaut Wendy Lawrence. Lawrence was deemed ineligible for flight due to a change in Russian requirements after the Progress supply vehicle collision. The new rules required that all "Mir" crew members should be trained and ready for spacewalks, but a Russian spacesuit suit could not be prepared for Lawrence in time for launch. [cite web
title = STS-86 Mission Summary
first = Jim
last = Dumoulin
authorlink = Jim Dumoulin
publisher = NASA
date = 29 June 2001
url = http://science.ksc.nasa.gov/shuttle/missions/sts-86/mission-sts-86.html
accessdate = 2007-03-30
]

Phase One closes down (1998)

The final year of Phase One began with the flight of Space Shuttle "Endeavour" on STS-89. The mission delivered Cosmonaut Salizhan Sharipov to "Mir" and replaced David Wolf with Andy Thomas, following Wolf's 119 day Increment. [cite web
title = STS-89 Mission Summary
first = Jim
last = Dumoulin
authorlink = Jim Dumoulin
publisher = NASA
date = 29 June 2001
url = http://science.ksc.nasa.gov/shuttle/missions/sts-89/mission-sts-89.html
accessdate = 2007-03-30
]

During his Increment, the last of the program, Thomas worked on 27 science investigations the areas of advanced technology, Earth sciences, human life sciences, microgravity research, and ISS risk mitigation. His stay on "Mir", considered the smoothest of the entire Phase One program, featured weekly "Letters from the Outpost" from Thomas and passed two milestones for length of spaceflight — 815 consecutive days in space by American astronauts since the launch of Shannon Lucid on the STS-76 mission in March 1996, and 907 days of Mir occupancy by American astronauts dating back to Norman Thagard's trip to "Mir" in March 1995. [cite web
title = Letters from the Outpost
first = Andrew
last = Thomas
authorlink = Andy Thomas
publisher = NASA
month = September | year = 2001
url = http://history.nasa.gov/SP-4225/documentation/thomas-letters/letters.htm
accessdate = 2007-04-15
]

Thomas finally returned to Earth on the final Shuttle-Mir mission, STS-91. The mission closed out Phase One, with the EO-25 and STS-91 crews transferring water to "Mir" and exchanging almost 4700 pounds of cargo experiments and supplies between the two spacecraft. Long-term American experiments that had been on board "Mir" were also moved into "Discovery", being stored within the shuttle's middeck lockers and Spacehab module. When the hatches closed for undocking at 9:07 a.m. EDT on June 8 and the spacecraft separated at 12:01 p.m. EDT that day, the final set of Shuttle-Mir docked operations was concluded and Phase One of the International Space Station program came to an end. [cite web
title = STS-91 Mission Summary
first = Jim
last = Dumoulin
authorlink = Jim Dumoulin
publisher = NASA
date = 29 June 2001
url = http://science.ksc.nasa.gov/shuttle/missions/sts-91/mission-sts-91.html
accessdate = 2007-03-30
] [Citation
last = Harwood
first = William
author-link = William Harwood
title = Final American returns from Mir
newspaper = Washington Post
pages = a12
year = 1998
date = June 13, 1998
publisher = Retrieved March 9, 2007 from NewsBank
]

Phases Two & Three: ISS (1998–2010)

Functional Cargo Block. This first module of the ISS module provided electrical power, storage, propulsion, and guidance to the ISS during its initial stage of assembly, and provides the functional backbone to the station. [cite web
title = NASA Facts - The Zarya Control Module
publisher = NASA
month = January | year = 1999
url = http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/spacenews/factsheets/pdfs/zarya.pdf
format = PDF
accessdate = 2007-03-30
]

As of February 2008, the International Space Station consists of eight pressurised modules, three solar arrays & a large truss structure, and is already the largest spacecraft assembled in history. The arrival of the Destiny Laboratory Module in 2001 marked the end of Phase Two and the start of Phase Three, the final outfitting of the station, currently in progress. [Citation
title = ISS Phases I, II and III
date = 2007-03-23
publisher = NASA
first = Gerald
last = Esquivel
authorlink = Gerald Esquivel
url = http://pdlprod3.hosc.msfc.nasa.gov/D-aboutiss/D1.html
accessdate = 2007-06-27
] The completed station will consist of five laboratories and be able to support six crew members. With over 1,000 cubic metres (1,300 cu yd) of pressurised volume and a mass of 400,000 kilograms (882,000 lb) the completed station will be almost twice the size of the combined Shuttle-Mir spacecraft. Phases Two & Three are intended to continue both international cooperation in space and zero-gravity scientific research, particularly regarding long-duration spaceflight. The results of this research will provide considerable information for long-duration expeditions to the Moon and flights to Mars. [Citation
title = NASA - International Space Station
year = 2007
url = http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/index.html
accessdate = 2007-03-30
]

Following the intentional deorbiting of "Mir" on March 23, 2001, the ISS became the only space station currently in orbit around Earth. "Mir"'s legacy lives on in the station, bringing together five space agencies in the cause of exploration and allowing those space agencies to prepare for their next leap into space, to the Moon, Mars and beyond. [Citation
last = Cabbage
first = Michael
author-link = Michael Cabbage
title = NASA outlines plans for moon and Mars
newspaper = Orlando Sentinel
year = 2005
date = 31 July 2005
url = http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/custom/space/orl-asec-moon073105,0,3136666.htmlstory?coll=orl-home-promo
]

Controversy

afety and scientific return

Throughout its course, the program received much criticism over the safety of the aging "Mir", particularly following the fire aboard the station and collision with the "Progress" supply vessel in 1997.

The fire, caused by the malfunction of a backup solid-fuel oxygen generator (SFOG), burned for, according to various sources, between ninety seconds and fourteen minutes, and produced large amounts of toxic smoke that filled the station for around forty-five minutes. This forced the crew to don respirators, which themselves also presented areas of concern, due to the fact that some of the respirator masks initially worn by the astronauts were broken. Of still further concern was the fact that fire extinguishers fixed to the walls of the modules were found to be immovable. In addition, the fire occurred during a time when crews were switching over, and as such there were six men aboard the station rather than the usual three — with the fire blocking off access to one of the docked Soyuz lifeboats. If evacuation of the station had been necessary, only half of the crew would have been able to escape. A similar occurrence had occurred on an earlier "Mir" expedition, although in that case the SFOG burned for only a few seconds.

The near-miss and collision incidents presented further safety issues. Both were caused by failure of the same piece of equipment, the TORU manual docking system, which was undergoing tests at the time. The tests were called in order to gauge the performance of long-distance docking in order to enable the cash-strapped Russians to remove the expensive "Kurs" automatic docking system from the Progress ships. The press at the time seized upon this untested technology as still further demonstrations of "Mir"'s unwieldiness.

The accidents also added to the increasingly vocal criticism of the dying station's reliability — originally designed to fly for five years, "Mir" eventually flew for three times that length of time. During the time of Phase One and afterward, the station was showing her age — constant computer crashes, loss of power, uncontrolled tumbles through space and leaking pipes were an ever-present concern for crews. The air supply aboard the station also presented a cause for worry, due to various breakdowns of "Mir"'s Elektron oxygen-generating system. These breakdowns led crews to become increasingly reliant on the SFOG systems that had caused the fire in 1997, and continue to be a problem aboard the ISS, which uses the same system as part of its life-support equipment.

Another issue of controversy directed at the program was the scale of its actual scientific return, particularly following the loss of the "Spektr" science module. Astronauts, managers and various members of the press all complained that the benefits of the program far outweighed the risks associated with it, especially considering the fact that most of the US science experiments had been contained within the holed module. As such, a large amount of American research was inaccessible, vastly reducing the science that could be performed above the station, rendering, in the eyes of the press, the program obsolete. [Citation
last = Oberg
first = James
author-link = James Oberg
title = NASA's 'Can-Do' style is clouding its vision of Mir
newspaper = Washington Post
pages = c1
year = 1997
date = September 28, 1997
publisher = Retrieved March 9, 2007 from NewsBank
]

The safety issues at various times caused NASA to reconsider the future of the program, and, although it was eventually decided to continue, the agency came under fire from various areas of the press regarding that decision. [Citation
last = Prigg
first = Mark
author-link = Mark Prigg
title = Row between Nasa and the Russian Space Agency - Innovation
newspaper = The Sunday Times
pages = Sport 20
year = 1997
date = April 20, 1997
publisher = Retrieved March 9, 2007 from NewsBank
]

Attitudes

The attitudes of both the Russian space program and NASA towards Phase One was also of concern to the astronauts involved. Due to Russia's financial issues, it was considered by many at the TsUP that the mission hardware and continuation of "Mir" was of more importance than the lives of the cosmonauts aboard her, and as such the program was run in a very different way to the American style — cosmonauts found their days being planned for them down to the minute, actions (such as docking) which would be performed manually by shuttle pilots were all carried out automatically, and cosmonauts had their pay docked upon return to Earth if they made any errors during their flights. Americans had found, in the past, notably aboard "Skylab", that this was not a productive way for work to be carried out, and had since made the plans more flexible. The Russians, however, would not budge, and many felt that significant work time was lost because of this. [cite web
last = Belew
first = Leland
authorlink = Leland F. Belew
title = 9 The Third Manned Period
work = SP-400 Skylab, Our First Space Station
publisher = NASA
year = 1977
url = http://history.nasa.gov/SP-400/ch9.htm
accessdate = 2007-04-06
]

In addition, astronaut Jerry Linenger felt that, following the two accidents in 1997, the Russian authorities attempted a coverup of the accidents in an effort to downplay their significance, fearing that the Americans would back out of the partnership. A large part of this 'coverup' was the seeming impression that the American astronauts were not in fact 'partners' aboard the station, but were instead 'guests'. NASA staff did not find out for several hours about the fire and collision after they occurred, and found themselves kept out of decision-making processes. They eventually managed to get themselves involved when attributing the blame for the collision — Russian mission controllers had intended to place the accident entirely on the shoulders of Vasily Tsibliyev, and it was only after the application of significant pressure from NASA that this stance was changed.

Nevertheless, NASA itself was not without flaws regarding Phase One — at various times during the program, managers and personnel found themselves limited in terms of resources and manpower, particularly as Phase Two geared up, and had a hard time getting anywhere with the NASA administration. One particular area of contention was the Director of the Flight Crew Operations Directorate, George Abbey, who assigned crews to missions. He was despised by many astronauts in NASA due to his methods of choosing crews for flights — many found themselves grounded merely for upsetting him in some way. Astronauts felt that this prevented many of the best astronauts from flying in the roles they would be best suited to, and that the program as a whole suffered because of him. [cite book
last = Evans
first = Ben
authorlink = Ben Evans
title = Space Shuttle Challenger: Ten Journeys into the Unknown
publisher = Springer-Praxis
year = 2007
location = Warwickshire, United Kingdom
url = http://www.amazon.co.uk/Space-Shuttle-Challenger-Journeys-Springer-Praxis/dp/0387463550/ref=sr_1_1/202-3649698-1866219?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1175887255&sr=8-1
id = 978-0387463551
]

Finances

Another area of significant controversy regarding the program was the financial state of Russia's space program — since the breakup of the Soviet Union a few years earlier, the Russian economy had been slowly collapsing, with the budget for space exploration being reduced by around 80%. Before and after Phase One, a great deal of Russia's space finances came from flights of astronauts from Europe and other countries, with one Japanese TV station paying $9.5 million to have one of their reporters flown aboard "Mir". By the start of Phase One, the problem had become so bad that cosmonauts regularly found their missions extended to save money on launchers, the six-yearly flights of the Progress had been reduced to three, and there was a distinct possibility of "Mir" herself being sold, to the tune of around $500 million.

Critics argued that the $325 million contract NASA had with Russia was the only thing keeping the Russian space program alive, and only the Space Shuttle was keeping "Mir" aloft. Astronauts training at Star City certainly got this impression, with NASA having to pay hefty fees for training manuals and equipment. Problems came to a head when it was revealed by ABC's "Nightline" that there was a distinct possibility of embezzlement of American finances by the Russian authorities in order to build a suite of new cosmonaut houses in Moscow, or else that the building projects were being funded by the Russian Mafia. NASA administrator Goldin was invited onto the programme to defend the homes, and refused to comment, although NASA's office for external affairs was quoted as saying that "What Russia does with its own money is their business." [cite web
title = SpaceViews Update 97 May 15: Policy
date = 15 May 1997
url = http://seds.org/spaceviews/970515/pol.html
publisher = Students for the Exploration and Development of Space
accessdate = 2007-04-05
]

Missions



References

External links

* [http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/history/shuttle-mir/ History of Shuttle-Mir] (NASA)


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