An astrophysical laboratory
In the spirit of glasnost, the launch of Soyuz-TM 2 was announced in advance, and the television coverage began with the suiting-up process. In fact, Yuri Romanenko and Alexander Laveikin had started out by backing up Vladimir Titov and Alexander Serebrov, but had switched when Serebrov fell ill. Ironically, because of the delay in preparing Mir’s first expansion module, and the resultant slippage in this mission, Serebrov had recovered by the time it set off on 6 February 1987. It flew the now standard two-day rendezvous, and once the final transfer orbit had closed the range to 100 kilometres the Kurs system was activated. The ferry initially approached the rear of the station and then, because Progress 27 was at that port, automatically flew around to the front. Tass reaffirmed that Mir was to be continuously inhabited, and added that this crew hoped to extend the endurance record. This was Laveikin’s first flight, but Romanenko had spent three months on Salyut 6 a decade earlier and had commanded one of the visiting Intercosmos missions. They spent the first few days readjusting to the Kaliningrad duty cycle, because orbital dynamics had obliged them to make the rendezvous during the night.
KeywordsBase Block Solar Panel Orbital Module Astrophysical Laboratory Flight Director
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