Expansion or abandonment?
Mikhail Gorbachev resigned as President of the Soviet Union on 25 December 1991, and a few days later the Hammer and Sickle on the Kremlin was pulled down and replaced by the Russian flag. The Soviet Union formally ceased to exist at the end of the year. It was superseded by the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The flag on Mir’s Sofora girder was now providing ‘top cover’ for a State that no longer existed. The Western media dubbed Sergei Krikalev, who had been launched prior to the start of his country’s demise, “the last Soviet citizen”. Work in space continued as if nothing had happened. By this point the X-ray telescopes were being used on a five-day cycle. Accumulated results were put into Progress-M 10’s Raduga capsule, but its departure was delayed while a fault in the gyrodyne system was investigated -the ferry was retained so that its thrusters would be able to be used to stabilise the complex — but it left on 20 January and returned its capsule to Earth. Progress-M 11 arrived a week later, with tools to enable the cosmonauts to gain access to the failed gyrodyne, the second Payload Systems experiment, and miscellaneous apparatus for forthcoming international visits. Although Volkov and Krikalev had been promised a jar of honey, none had been available. This seemingly trivial procurement problem in the post-Soviet chaos would soon turn into a nightmare. Boris Yeltsin, the Russian President, promptly established the Russian Space Agency under the chairmanship of Yuri Koptev to manage civilian space operations. It assumed control of existing launchers, spacecraft and Mir. Counterpart organisations were established by newly independent Ukraine and Kazakhstan, and these expropriated ground stations and tracking facilities.
KeywordsBase Block International Space Station European Space Agency Solar Panel Thermal Blanket
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.