The final chapter
“With two, there is plenty of room,” observed Talget Musabayev after Discovery’s departure concluded NASA’s two-year occupancy of Mir. After setting up a round of materials experiments in the Optizon and Gallar furnaces, he and Nikolai Budarin set about compiling an inventory of the apparatus on board the complex. NASA had hoped that Mir would be decommissioned after the Shuttle-Mir programme, but the Russians wished to host commercial missions. After a meeting with the government on 2 July 1998, Yuri Koptev, the head of the Russian Space Agency, confirmed that as there was no funding to continue to operate Mir; the complex would be de-orbited in June 1999. Meanwhile, as Russia had failed to pay for the electricity supplied to its cosmodrome, the Kazakhs denied it power, and as a result the launch of the next crew was slipped ten days, to 13 August. When the routine preparatory test of the Kurs on the rear of the complex on 10 August indicated an anomaly, the undocking of Progress-M 39 was advanced to 12 August in order to exercise the system during the ship’s withdrawal. Although this indicated that the system worked, a spare box of electronics was loaded onto Soyuz-TM 28, which lifted off on time. Meanwhile, Progress-M 39 manoeuvred into a storage orbit. In addition to the next resident crew of Gennadi Padalka and Sergei Avdeyev, the ferry’s arrival on 15 August delivered Yuri Baturin who, prior to training to become a cosmonaut, was a space physicist who had served as President Yeltsin’s national security adviser and Defence Council Secretary.
KeywordsVenture Capital Base Block International Space Station Solar Panel Final Chapter
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