Encyclopedia Astronautica
Mir NASA-4


Crew: Foale. Foale relieved Linenger as NASA resident on the Mir station. Backup crew: Voss.

Atlantis blasted off on a night launch to Mir, docking with the station on May 17 at 02:33 GMT. Jerry Linenger, who had begun his stay on Mir in mid-January aboard STS-81, would return aboard STS-84. Michael Foale would be left at the station for his stint as the American crew member of Mir. The crew transfered to Mir 466 kg of water, 383 kg of U.S. science equipment, 1,251 kg of Russian equipment and supplies, and 178 kg of miscellaneous material.

STS-86 Atlantis docked with the SO (Docking Module) on the Mir complex at 19:58 GMT on September 27. As of 20:06 GMT, the Shuttle took attitude control of the entire Mir complex. The NASA crew exchange was completed on September 28, with David Wolf replacing Michael Foale on the Mir crew. On October 1 cosmonaut Titov and astronaut Parazynski conducted a spacewalk from the Shuttle payload bay while Atlantis was docked to Mir. They retrieved four MEEP (Mir Environmental Effects Payload ) exposure packages from Mir's SO module and installed the Spektr solar array cap. The MEEP experiments had been attached to the Docking Module by astronauts Linda Godwin and Rich Clifford during Shuttle mission STS-76 in March 1996. In addition to retrieving the MEEP, Parazynski and Titov were to continue an evaluation of the Simplified Aid For EVA Rescue (SAFER), a small jet-backpack designed for use as a type of life jacket during station assembly.

Atlantis undocked from Mir at 17:28 GMT on October 3 and conducted a flyaround focused on the damaged Spektr Module to determine the location of the puncture in its hull. The Mir crew pumped air into the Spektr Module using a pressure regulator valve, and the Shuttle crew observed evidence that, as expected, the leak seemed to be located at the base of the damaged solar panel. Final separation of Atlantis from Mir took place around 20:28 GMT. After two landing attempts were waved off on October 5 due to heavy cloud cover, the crew fired the engines to deorbit at 20:47 GMT on October 6 and landed at Kennedy Space Center at 21:55.

AKA: Atlantis; STS-84 (Foale).
First Launch: 1997.05.15.
Last Launch: 1997.10.06.
Duration: 144.57 days.

More... - Chronology...


Associated People
  • Voss Voss, James Shelton 'Jim' (1949-) American test pilot mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-44, STS-53, STS-69, STS-101, ISS EO-2. US Army More...
  • Linenger Linenger, Dr Jerry Michael (1955-) American physician mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-64, Mir NASA-3. More...
  • Precourt Precourt, Charles Joseph 'Charlie' (1955-) American test pilot astronaut. Flew on STS-55, STS-71, STS-84, STS-91. More...
  • Collins, Eileen Collins, Eileen Marie 'Mom' (1956-) American test pilot astronaut. Flew on STS-63, STS-84, STS-93, STS-114. US Air Force test pilot, first female shuttle pilot and first female spacecraft commander. More...
  • Foale Foale, Dr Colin Michael 'Mike' (1957-) British-American physicist mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-45, STS-56, STS-63, Mir NASA-4, STS-103, ISS EO-8; 373 days in space. Appointed Deputy Associate Administrator for Exploration Operations in 2004. More...
  • Kondakova Kondakova, Yelena Vladimirovna (1957-) Russian engineer cosmonaut. Flew on Mir EO-17, STS-84. Engineer, first Russian woman to fly in space for other than propaganda reasons. Was married to astronaut Valeriy Ryumin. Civilian Engineer, Energia NPO More...
  • Clervoy Clervoy, Jean-Francois Andre (1958-) French engineer cosmonaut, mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-66, STS-84, STS-103. More...
  • Noriega Noriega, Carlos Ismael (1959-) Hispanic-American computer scientist mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-84, STS-97. Grew up in Santa Clara, California. More...
  • Lu Lu, Dr Edward Tsang (1963-) American engineer mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-84, STS-106, ISS EO-7. More...

See also
Associated Flights
  • STS-84 Crew: Clervoy, Collins Eileen, Kondakova, Lu, Noriega, Precourt. Delivered to Mir and returned to earth 2500 kg of payload. More...
  • STS-86 Crew: Bloomfield, Chretien, Lawrence, Parazynski, Titov Vladimir, Wetherbee. Flyaround focused on the damaged Spektr Module to determine the location of the puncture in its hull. More...

Associated Programs
  • Mir The Mir space station was the last remnant of the once mighty Soviet space programme. It was built to last only five years, and was to have been composed of modules launched by Proton and Buran/Energia launch vehicles. These modules were derived from those originally designed by Chelomei in the 1960's for the Almaz military station programme. As the Soviet Union collapsed Mir stayed in orbit, but the final modules were years late and could only be completed with American financial assistance. Kept flying over a decade beyond its rated life, Mir proved a source of pride to the Russian people and proved the ability of their cosmonauts and engineers to improvise and keep operations going despite all manner of challenges and mishaps. More...

Mir NASA-4 Chronology


1997 May 15 - . 08:07 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39A. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-84.
  • STS-84 - . Call Sign: Atlantis. Crew: Precourt; Collins, Eileen; Clervoy; Lu; Noriega; Kondakova; Foale. Backup Crew: Titov, Vladimir. Payload: Atlantis F19 / Spacehab Double Module. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Precourt; Collins, Eileen; Clervoy; Lu; Noriega; Kondakova; Foale; Titov, Vladimir. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: Mir. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-84; Mir NASA-4; Mir NASA-3; Mir EO-23. Spacecraft: Atlantis. Duration: 9.22 days. Decay Date: 1997-05-24 . USAF Sat Cat: 24804 . COSPAR: 1997-023A. Apogee: 393 km (244 mi). Perigee: 377 km (234 mi). Inclination: 51.7000 deg. Period: 92.30 min. Atlantis blasted off on a night launch to Mir, docking with the station on May 17 at 02:33 GMT. Jerry Linenger, who had begun his stay on Mir in mid-January aboard STS-81, would return aboard STS-84. Michael Foale would be left at the station for his stint as the American crew member of Mir. The crew transfered to Mir 466 kg of water, 383 kg of U.S. science equipment, 1,251 kg of Russian equipment and supplies, and 178 kg of miscellaneous material. Returned to Earth aboard Atlantis were 406 kg of U.S. science material, 531 kg of Russian logistics material, 14 kg of ESA material and 171 kg of miscellaneous material. Atlantis undocked from Mir at 01:04 GMT on May 22. After passing up its first landing opportunity due to clouds over the landing site, the Shuttle fired its OMS engines on the deorbit burn at 12:33 GMT on May 24. Atlantis landed at 13:27 GMT at Kennedy Space Center's runway 33.

1997 May 24 - .
1997 May 25 - .
  • Mir News 359: Chronicle - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: STS-84; Mir NASA-4; Mir NASA-3; Mir EO-23. Just before the beginning of Atlantis mission STS-84 I left my 'station' for a badly needed vacation. For those who use my 'MirNEWS-series' as a chronicle I decided to draft a short summary of that mission. The information therein I derived from different sources.

    Atlantis STS-84 mission largely accomplished successfully: Launch Atlantis on 15.05.97; flawless docking with Mir on 17.05.97. Michael Foale relieved his colleague Jerry Linenger. Mir's mission will be named : Mir 23 / NASA 5. Both crews succeeded in transferring mutually all what had to be transferred within the 5-day period. Adding a 6th 'docking day' was not needed.

    Mir was plentifully provided with an extra supply of water and oxygen en the replacement equipment and spare parts to postpone for a very long time the definitive termination of the ageing space station. The most important equipment for that purpose was the new oxygen machine Elektron, which had to be installed in the Module-D (Kvant-2). The old Elektron which had been repaired some weeks ago and has been operational in Module-D has been reinstalled in the former spot in Kvant-1 to be used as a reserve. The delivered supply of oxygen enables the crew to refrain for a long period from the use of the Elektrons. Defective equipment, for instance the old Elektron, which could not be repaired, has been brought back to earth for analysis.

    Originally there has been a plan to deliver a new Antares transmitter for communications via the geostationary Altair-2 (now in position over 16 degrees West). Information about this plan is still unclear and even sometimes contradictory. Communications: During the combined flight the communications also to and from Mir had been handled to a large extent via the American TDRS-facilities. Mir communicated directly with tracking stations on Russian territory using VHF frequencies.

    After the launch of Atlantis on 15.05 Eileen Collins could be heard on 259.7 mc between 0826 and 0829 UTC when she via a tracking station in Spain reported the 'power down of the APU'. Shortly after the stabilisation of Altair-2 over 16 degrees West there has been word that the satellite had a transmitter failure and that the Russians would do all what was possible to reactivate this transmitter. Due to my absence I was not able to monitor 10.830 Ghz.

    During my stay in Budapest I met a 'colleague' and he told me that he received somewhat like a 'wide band' signal on that frequency, probably a test signal by the VKS (Russian space forces). This was on 19.05. Later on and until the afternoon of 21.05 the transponder transmitted a continuous carrier without modulation. Another colleague in Western Europe monitored the wideband signal and recorded this. Meanwhile there came some information about the Antares transmitter on board Mir.

    The installation of a new Antares has been put back until the arrival of a needed part which has to be delivered by Progress-M35 (launch 22.06, docking 24.06). Conclusion: Altair-2 is operational. The problem is still on board Mir. Mir-routine: The 3 crew members on board Mir again have to do the job alone. Just before the arrival of Atlantis they repaired the defective water regeneration systems (SRV-K condensation and SRV-U urine) .

    Before a profound analysis on Earth of the quality of the water regenerated by the SRV-K they are not allowed to drink this water. They are satisfied about the new supply of oxygen and the relative high pressure of the atmosphere on board: 780 mm. One of the first priorities is the search and elimination of a leakage in the cooling loop VGK.

    The passes of the Mir-station for our position take place during the night hours. So for a short period there will be not much radio traffic via VHF unless something special happens during these night hours. I will remain on the alert!

    Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202.


1997 June 12 - .
  • Mir News 360: Progress-M35 - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir NASA-4; Mir EO-23. This freighter is on schedule for late this month. If launch and flight will go as planned Progress-M34 will have to leave the aft docking port (+X-axis) the day before the arrival of Progress-M35. Apart from the normal cargo a badly needed component for the Antares-transmitter on board Mir has to be delivered by Progress-M35. Until the restoration of Mir's satellite relay system audio and video downlinks will be limited to ground station passes.

    Progress-M34: It might be possible that before the departure for decay in the Earth's atmosphere the Russians will execute an autonomous flight with the old freighter to test the TORU system. Thus far no confirmation about this operation. Radio-amateurism: The fact that the Mir-crew is active again on the radio-amateur-frequencies confirms that the situation on board though not fully back to normal, improved to such a degree that they got more time to relax.

    During almost every pass within our range the amateur station in the 145 mc band is active, mostly in Packet Radio, but also in Phone. Mike Foale (call KB5UAC) or the Russians (R0Mir) can be heard on Mir's downlink 145.800 mc. (uplink 145.200 mc). The crew transmitted a P/R message in which they said that they planned to increase P/R traffic. In another P/R message they reported that the Safex-2 transponder in the Priroda Module is operational again. Downlink is 437.950 mc, uplink 435.750 mc. To open the transponder a CTCSS tone of 141.3 hertz is needed. During docking operations with Soyuz-TM- and Progress-M ships and Shuttles Safex-2 will be OFF to avoid interference on crucial systems.

    Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202.


1997 June 16 - .
  • Mir News 361: Progress-M35 - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir NASA-4; Mir EO-23. If all goes according to plan this freighter will be launched on 27.06.1997 at 0630 UTC. If launch and flight will be successful Progress-M35 will dock at Mir's aft docking port (X-axis) on 29.06.1997 at abt 0748 UTC.

    Progress-M34:

    There are no plans for an autonomous flight with Progress-M34. If during the first day of the flight of Progress-M35 all goes well Progress-M34 will separate from Mir on 28.06.1997 and brought on a destruction course for decay over a designated area in the Pacific East of New Zealand.

    Radio-amateur traffic:

    As requested by radio-amateurs in the USA the 'downlink frequency' of the VHF station in Mir's base block has been changed from 145.800 to 145.985 mc. This change took place on 15.06.97. Almost during every pass within our range traffic, mainly Packet Radio, can be monitored. During the last days Foale could be heard in Phone. Foale is a skilled radio-amateur with a very good memory. During a QSO with the Belgian amateur ON6GP he remarked that during mission STS-45 ON6GP spoke with Foale's crew mate the Belgian astronaut Frimaut.

    Communications:

    Tsibliyev and Lazutkin during every pass discuss their reparation activities. They meet a lot of problems with cables and contacts which they cannot find or do not fit. Undoubtedly the present mission, teased by a lot of problems and set-backs, is leaving its traces on the psychological stamina of Tsibliyev and Lazutkin. Especially for Tsibliyev it is not always easy to maintain his normal flexibility.

    In a long conversation with his father Foale told that he just flew over England. The British isles were fully overcast and the cloud layer had the same shape as the country itself. He also told that Tsibliyev and Lazutkin badly hope that the relief crew will be launched at abt. 8.08.97. The Russians will be relieved by Solovyov and Vinogradov. After the departure of the present crew Foale will remain on board Mir. So he will be a member of Mir's Main Expedition nr. 24 (Solovyov and Vinogradov) for a period of appr. 7 weeks. Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202.


1997 June 25 - .
  • Mir News 362: Progress-M34 - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir NASA-4; Mir EO-23. In contradiction to the information given in my MirNEWS.361 the Russians decided to execute manoeuvres with this old freighter for tests of the TORU system (system for remote controlled

    guidance from inside Mir). The fact that departing Progress-M-ships could be used for that purpose had been announced, but I could not get confirmation about the possible use of Progress-M34. Radio traffic during the last days revealed that Tsibliyev had got orders to check the TORU-system during an autonomous flight of Progress-M34. He and Lazutkin repaired electronics of the TORU and TsUP told Tsibliyev what he had to do. The manoeuvres should be executed during those periods in which Mir would be in range of ground stations.

    Progress-M34

    undocked from Mir on 24.06.97 at 10.22.50 UTC. Just after undocking Progress-M34 flew above the Mir-complex and a few hours later Tsibliyev reported that Progress-M34 flew behind Mir in a distance of appr. 2 KM. Progress-M34 had to be redocked at Mir with the use of the system TORU on 25.06.1997 between 0920 and 0925 UTC. THIS DOCKING ATTEMPT FAILED. When this report 'went to press' specialists at TsUP were analysing the situation and whether or not -and if so when- a second attempt would be made had not been decided yet.

    Progress-M35:

    The launch of this freighter is on schedule for 27.06.1997 at 0721 UTC. If this launch will take place (in view of the situation with Progress-M34 might this been changed) and if all goes according to plan this freighter will have to dock at Mir aft (+X-axis) port on 29.06.1997 at 0848 UTC. (In my MirNEWS.361 the estimated times were incorrect. I mixed up DMV time (TsUP time) with Moscow summer time.)

    Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202.


1997 June 26 - .
  • Mir News 363: The following message received from VideoCosmos - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir NASA-4; Mir EO-23. Co redistributed by Chris v.d.Berg under MirNEWS.363 and MirNWS.363 (no Dutch translation available yet due to lack of time)

    Subject: Emergency on Mir

    Novosti Kosmonavtiki June 25, 1997 -- Moscow, Russia -- Progress M-34 cargo vehicle collided With the Spektr module of Mir space station earlier today but the crew survived. The collision occurred before 09:18 UTC during Progress' fly around in remote control mode before scheduled re-docking. The crew haven't had communications with Russian ground stations at the time. The cargo spacecraft sheared a half of Spektr solar panel and made damage to the module itself. Depressurization of the station had begun but the crew succeeded in fast closing the hatch to Spektr. The rest of the station is being re-pressurised. Also, thermal control radiators on Spektr were damaged. There is no immediate danger to the crew but emergency landing is a possible decision. This report is not copyrighted. If you plan to use or publish the report please keep reference to VideoCosmos Co. of Moscow, Russia, and Novosti Kosmonavtiki Magazine.

    Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202.


1997 June 27 - .
  • Mir News 364: Progress-M34 - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir NASA-4; Mir EO-23. The Russians abandoned the plan to finish the existence of this freighter today. Progress-M34 is still needed for Telemetry analyses, necessary for the investigations on the cause of the 'mini-catastrophe. For the time being it is extremely difficult to get a reliable picture of that what happened due to the huge amount of versions and rumours about the failed docking attempt. When Progress-M34 will enter the earth's atmosphere and decay has been not decided, it might take place on 28 or 29.07.97.

    Inquiries: An extensive commission under the chairmanship of the Head of the RKA (Russian Space Agency), Yuriy Koptev, discussed the situation on 26.07.97 and decided to delegate the investigations to one or more working groups. These specialists will pay extensive attention to the Telemetry from Progress-M34 after the undocking until the collision. Already before the session of the commission Koptev gave a statement in which he emphasised that the operations with Mir will not be interrupted, that the crew will not be evacuated and that Russia will perform her obligations in the framework of the international co-operation. (How far political intentions will conflict with technical imperfections and even impossibilities certainly will turn out in due course.)

    Intentions and options known up to now (27.06.1997 1200 UTC): A lot of press-releases speak about the necessity to make a spacewalk (EVA) for the inspection and eventual repair of the little gap or crack in the hull of Module Spektr. Such an EVA will certainly be executed, but this will take place not before the arrival of the next cargo ship Progress-M35. The first EVA will be a so called 'internal EVA' using the transition section (P.Kh.O.) as an airlock via which the cosmonauts can enter the Spektr.

    Module Spektr: For a long time this module was the 'base and home' of the American astronauts. In this module Foale disposed about a lot of equipment and experiments. The crew has to determine what still is available and can be saved and what is lost. For the time being a lot of experiments cannot be executed and in fact the experimental program for this expedition is almost fully suspended. One of the 4 solar panels of Spektr has been severely damaged, possibly beyond repair. The other 3 might be able to deliver power, but due the disconnection of cables, some of those cables had even to be cut in two, they are out of order. The damaged one and one of the other 3 are badly needed for power supply for the whole complex. The event caused a power reduction of appr. 50% . Before I spoke about a little gap or crack and not as generally is done in publications about this damage, about a gap, or even big hole. If it would be a real gap the crew would be dead. Depressurization would have been a matter of seconds not only or the Spektr but also for the whole complex. This depressurization was in fact a process which passed off slowly. The crew felt the decrease of the pressure in their ears and they had still enough time to close one of the hatches to Spektr and -possibly we will hear about this later- do a lot of things before closing that hatch.

    Situation on board of Mir : A summary about the developments after the collision as derived from the enormous amount of radio traffic will be published in NEWS.365.

    Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202.


1997 June 28 - .
  • Mir News 365: Radio traffic after collision Progress-M34 with MIR. - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir NASA-4; Mir EO-23. On 25.06.1997 during the first pass of the daily sequence (orb. 64831, 1049-1054 UTC) it was obvious that something went terribly wrong. If the redocking would have been a success this should have been obvious during this traffic. No word about the Progress-M34. The only subjects about which the crew spoke with TsUP were the systems on board Mir. In the first place they had problems with the SUD (attitude control) and something had happened with a module. TsUP transmitted a long series of 4-digit groups and the crew got orders to record and to collate them ('kvitantsiya').

    In the next pass (orb. 64832, 1223-1232 UTC) reports about serious problems indicating that the complex had suffered from a heavy blow. An emergency signal warned that the power supply was too low (tension too low), that storage accumulators could not be charged and that the attitude of the complex had been changed and flew on its side. One or more of the 5 still available solar arrays could not be adjusted for a good angle towards the sun.. Tsibliyev reported that they were unable to change this and that the complex had a movement along the X-axis.

    The crew got orders to activate the direct TV-link (commands Anna-72 and Anna-86) and to send images. Mike Foale made this images with a camera. (These images could be seen all over the world during the rest of the day). Very alarming was that what the crew reported during the 3d pass (orbit 64833, 1359-1409 UTC). Those solar panels which were still available could not be adjusted via computer commands, but this had to be done manually by the cosmonauts.

    The gyrodynes did not work any more , the electrical tension was too low and the Ts.V.M.-1 (the main computer) ceased to function. The SUD failed and this was also the case with such a system in Module-D. After reporting all these calamities Tsibliyev stated that the situation was very bad. A number of ventilators did not work and the crew was grateful about the fact that the ventilators in Module-D functioned normally.

    The fact that the gyrodynes stopped and did not consume power anymore decreased the burden on the power supply. After a long discussion about the power problems the crew got permission to adjust the solar panels of Module-D manually for a better angle towards the sun. In the background the voice of the veteran cosmonaut Vladimir Solovyov, Head of Flight Control, could be heard. As much as necessary the crew could use the Soyuz-TM25 and in case of a failure of the communications from the Base block they could use the transceiver of that ship.

    The traffic during the 4th pass (orb. 68434, 1535-1546 UTC) began with the cheerful voice of Foale asking Tsibliyev how he felt himself. Tsibliyev said that he was very tired and suffered from strain caused by the event. Before LOS TsUP gave the windows for communications via the ground facilities of Oberpfaffenhofen, Dryden en Wallops in the coming night.

    There was also good news: Foale reported that the amount of CO2 in the air was so low that the CO2 scrubber Vozdukh was not needed. An inconvenience was the fact that the alarm light : 'Depressurization of the complex' was burning continuously and that reset was impossible while the mano-vacuummeters indicated that the pressure remained stable (692 mm). During a following pass Tsibliyev said that he understood that the launch of the Progress-M35 had been put back. TsUP confirmed this. (to be continued)

    Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202.


1997 July 1 - .
  • Mir News 366: Radio traffic in the period 26.6 - 1.7.1997 - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir NASA-4; Mir EO-23. During this period it was for me a relief when I during the first pass of the daily sequence heard the voices of the crew. Every conversation between the crew and TsUP referred to the difficult situation and their 'struggle for life'. 26.06: Just like on 'collision day' they again had to do everything to adjust those solar-arrays which still were operational to the best angle towards the sun.

    The absence of the gyrodynes for the movements control and the absence of the possibility to have commands executed by computer programs means that the crew has to adjust the solar arrays manually. One of the complaints was that the solar arrays on Module D moved very slowly. Nevertheless the angles towards the sun gradually improved leading to an increase of power supply. The crew did all what was possible to determine the damage by observations and making images via several portholes, but it was impossible to get a full picture.

    For the reception of radiograms the RTTY system was in use again. The attitude control of the complex was executed by thruster jets, also with those of the transport vehicle Soyuz-TM25. They did not do any experiments for which electrical energy was needed and all radio-amateur activities had been suspended. For the filtering of the air from CO2 now and then the Vozdukh scrubber was activated.

    27.06: This day there was word about a gyro-stabilised orientation, possibly with the attitude control of the Soyuz-TM25. For the neutralisation of CO2 TsUP wished the use of lithium hydroxide canisters. Tsibliyev asked permission to do this with Vozdukh. At first they had to do this with those canisters, but later on they got permission to switch on Vozdukh for a while. The crew also worked on the Elektron, but this oxygen producer had to remain switched off to economise energy. During the pass in orb. 64863 there has been a TV-link (Anna-72 and Anna-86) and possibly they used for the phone during these communications the VHF-2 130.165 mc.

    During the pass in orb. 64865 the crew answered questions of a lady on earth. The crew said that only a few experiments ('sleep' and the 'orangery') can be executed. During this interview the possibility of a spacewalk (EVA) was mentioned. Tsibliyev spoke about an 'internal' EVA. Tsibliyev hoped that their spacesuits will enable them to enter the Spektr. He stated that the present situation is far from hopeless. Problem is that 1 solar array has been severely damaged. The other 3 solar arrays on Spektr are still in good order, but it is a 'bloody shame' that they cannot deliver electrical power. One of those 3 is badly needed for the power supply.

    The lady asked how things are looking inside the Spektr. Tsibliyev said, that they do not know this for they have not been inside. In his opinion a space station can be compared with a 'test firing range' where everything is possible. They are very proud of their Mir. Cosmonauts are prepared to undergo normal and emergency situations, even those which have not been foreseen. But together with the experts on earth they always will 'twist themselves out'.

    28.06: Today again attitude corrections with the thrusters of Soyuz-TM25. Also a few times TV-links. The work on the Elektron has been postponed until next Monday, probably due to a valve that cannot be opened. Later on they spoke about the functioning of the Elektron in Kvant. (37KE). Today the transfer of radiograms with Packet Radio could be monitored. A lot conversations about the 'internal' EVA. The equipment needed for this EVA has to be transferred from the Sh.S.O. (airlock of Module-D) to the P.Kh.O. (transition section, which again has to function as airlock). They spoke about the spacesuits, POV, BSS and so on.

    29.06: During passes they almost exclusively spoke about the next EVA and also mentioned the spacesuits which have to be used: Orlan-M or Orlan-DMA. Foale is also involved in the solution of these problems. It was also obvious that a part of the available gyrodynes is functioning normally. Now and then they speak about the switching off of one gyrodyne or the use of a reserve.

    30.06: Again a lot about the EVA. There was also work to do on the cooling loops VGK and K.Okh-B in Kvant (37KE).

    1.07: Foale spoke with Wendy Lawrence, his successor. He says that his 'little room is in vacuum now'. Meanwhile the radio-amateur Packet Radio transmissions on 145.985 mc have been resumed. (this means that the power supply situation really improved) During the pass in Orb. 64925 Tsibliyev reports: 'At about 1100 UTC we heard some dull claps or knocks. It was not clear what it was. When we at 1103 UTC entered the light from the shadow we saw a big cloud of very little white flakes near the Module-O (Spektr). Obviously there is fuel leaking away from somewhere'. He asked TsUP to check the fuel tanks by Telemetry.

    That's all for now folks.

    Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202.


1997 July 2 - .
  • Mir News 367: Progress-M34 - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir NASA-4; Mir EO-23. This naughty boy (or is it girl?) ceased its existence on 2.07.97 at 06.32.00 UTC. Progress-M34 burnt up over a designated area in the Pacific East of New Zeeland. During the autonomous flight until decay specialists used Progress-M34 for tests in the framework of the investigations in the cause of the fatal event on 25.06.1997.

    Progress-M35:

    The launch of this new freighter with a partly replaced cargo is on schedule for 5.07.1997 at 04.11.54 UTC. If all goes according to plan the Progress-M35 has to link up with Mir's aft (+X) docking port on 7.07.1997 at 05.58.15 UTC.

    Cargo of Progress-M35:

    The original cargo has been partly replaced by equipment needed for the activities in relation to the Module Spektr during an internal spacewalk . With Progress-M35 an Antares transceiver for communications between Mir and TsUP via the geostationary satellite Altair-2 over 16 dgs West will be brought to Mir.

    The mysterious white flakes:

    After MirNEWS.366 went to the 'press' there was still a pass of Mir in orb. 64927 in which Lazutkin reported that they did not see those flakes after their first observation.

    Morale on board Mir:

    The morale is excellent. Tsibliyev regained his old flexibility and he is very busy with the very complicated preparations for the internal EVA (so in fact an IVA) which possibly will be executed in the night from 11 to 12.07.1997.

    Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202.


1997 July 5 - . 04:11 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz 11A511U.
  • Progress M-35 - . Payload: Progress M s/n 235. Mass: 7,150 kg (15,760 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: RAKA. Manufacturer: Korolev. Program: Mir. Class: Manned. Type: Manned logistics spacecraft. Flight: Mir NASA-4; Mir EO-23. Spacecraft: Progress M. Duration: 82.50 days. Decay Date: 1997-10-08 . USAF Sat Cat: 24851 . COSPAR: 1997-033A. Apogee: 391 km (242 mi). Perigee: 383 km (237 mi). Inclination: 51.7000 deg. Period: 92.30 min. Unmanned resupply vessel to Mir. Docked with Mir on 7 Jul 1997 05:59:24 GMT. Undocked on 6 Aug 1997 11:46:45 GMT. Redocked with Mir on 18 Aug 1997 12:52:48 GMT. Final undocking on 7 Oct 1997 12:03:49 GMT. Destroyed in reentry on 7 Oct 1997 17:23:00 GMT. Total free-flight time 2.30 days. Total docked time 80.21 days.

1997 July 7 - .
  • Mir News 368: Progress-M35 - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir NASA-4; Mir EO-23. The start of this cargo ship from Baykonur took place on 5.07.97 at 04.11.54 UTC. During the pass in orb. 2, 0847-850 UTC, the Telemetry transmissions in the 166 and 165 mc could be heard and during the pass in the next orbit these transmissions, but also those of the beacon in the 922.755mc could be monitored. On 6.07.1997 during the passes in the orbits 18, 19 and 20 good signals on all frequencies and with the doppler shift on 922.755 mc 2 times TCA's could be determined: 071751 and 085100 UTC.

    Progress-M35, approach and docking: Again all went of old: a stable and reliable execution of this operation by the automatic system Kurs. The docking took place on 7.07.1997 at 05.59.24 UTC. During Mir's orbit 65015 from 0549-0554 UTC the approach was going on. At AOS the Progress-M35 was in a distance of 147 M. Tsibliyev reported very little deviations in the course and attitude of Progress-M35. There was a stable GSO (gyrostabilised orientation) and all went so successful that Tsibliyev could load some date, given him by TsUP, in a computer. Just before LOS the distance was still 120 M and the approach was continued with a speed of 30 cm\sec.

    During the next passes they did not speak about the opening of the hatches to Progress-M35. The main subject was the good functioning of the gyrodynes, the good attitude of the complex and the fact that the solar arrays had been turned to a good angle in relation to the sun. The accumulators could be fully charged. The crew has to remove temporarily the spacesuits from the P.Kh.O. (transition section) to get more room for the transfer of goods from Progress-M35 to the rest of the complex.

    The Russians deserve a heartfelt 'Molodtsy' (well done fine fellows). But please let those responsible for Russian manned spaceflight as soon as possible make a deal with the Ukrainian factory Khartron for the restoration of the delivery of the system Kurs. In that way docking-operations can be executed with a 99.99% reliability!! Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202.


1997 July 11 - .
  • Mir News 369: Progress-M35 - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir NASA-4; Mir EO-23. In contrast with the normal practice after dockings this time the crew had to wait with the opening of the hatches until the next day to conserve power and to enable the crew to have a good night's rest. The subjects discussed during radio communications in the passes in the first 3 orbits after the docking had nothing to do with the arrival of the Progress-M. They spoke about the replacement of water tanks, the switching on and off of the Elektron for oxygen production and the work on the accumulators.

    They had problems with the BKV-3 (air conditioning) and something was wrong with the Vozdukh, the CO2 scrubber. The next day the crew got permission to open the hatches and to start the unloading and loading of the freighter. They immediately began to pump water into the tanks of the complex. Foale had seen his 'goodies' for which he had been anxiously waiting, but due to the congestion of goods he could not yet reach them.

    This week radio traffic revealed circumstances which did not get much attention in the press and status reports. Everybody is aware of the fact that the module Spektr is as dead as a doornail, but the power shortage also paralysed another 2 huge modules, i.e. Kristall and Priroda.

    Greatest anxieties causes the module Kristall. Near the docking device for the Space shuttle (the SO, docking compartment is attached at the Kristall) the high humidity causes a lot of condensation and there but also in other places Foale and Lazutkin try to absorb this water as much as possible using towels. Foale reported that the temperature in Kristall is abt 4 a 5 degrees Celsius. Tsibliyev told TsUP that he blew air into Kristall for warming up.

    The most important subject remained the preparations for the coming spacewalk (IVA). The lion's share of this work is in the hands of Tsibliyev. When this report went to press there was not yet a complete scenario for the IVA. This meant that Tsibliyev regularly has been confronted with changes. This also in relation to the equipment and tools which they must have at hand during the IVA. Tsibliyev asked for a definitive list of all what has to be put in the IVA bag. Thus far he several times had to replace things. He also urged TsUP to avoid unnecessary delays.

    Now and then TsUP and the crew discuss the collision. Foale and Tsibliyev repeat much what they have told earlier. TsUP is still trying to trace the spot where Spektr's hull has been perforated. TsUP asked Lazutkin to give his opinion based on that what he heard during the collision. He told where he heard the hissing (or: sizzling, Russian word 'shipeniye'). When you should enter the module this must be in the wall on the left hand side. At first the blow was at the radiator, which is installed between the 2d and 3d plane. In the nearest (seen from the place where Lazutkin was) 'quarter'. If that is the place of the fixation at the suspension obviously the puncture must be there.

    Radio-amateurism:

    The Packet Radio 'circular saw rattles' can be heard again on 145.985 mc. Now and then Foale (KB5UAC) publishes by P/R small status reports. For instance: On docking day: 'Progress docked normally this morning. We are waiting 3 orbits before we start to unload it, checking the integrity of the hatch seals. (In fact they had to put this back until the next morning) The station attitude controls system is working well, using the gyrodynes, and the power STH (?) the base block and module Kvant 2 powered (airlock and toilet) with modules Kristall and Priroda unpowered. Greenhouse experiment is continuing, using power from the base block, to dry the seed pods that have formed quite nicely.' After collision day: Our packet pwr supply failed, and we had to rewire the equipment to a newer one. All previous msgs here were lost. TNC Paccomm no longer holds its parameters, if pwr is turned off, since the Progress collision. Mike, KB5UAC.'

    And today:

    'The crew is now extremely busy, trying to crawl through all the bags unloaded from Progress, which are now stored in dark, wet modules, which have no power. We are trying to inventory and assemble the 30 or so cables and adapt, required to install the hatch umbilical. A training run will be done on the 15th and the real EVA sometime after that. I will get some refresher training on preparing the Soyuz for evacuation, and will be in a spacesuit, b, in the Soyuz during the EVA itself.'

    Foale:

    During the period just after the collision Foale had his quarters in the P.Kh.O. (transition section). This P.Kh.O. will serve as airlock during the IVA and so Foale had to remove. He is now living in the module Kvant-2 (Module-D), which certainly will be more comfortable than the P.Kh.O.

    Attitude control:

    During this week the gyrodynes did not function continuously: sometimes all of them of just 1 were spun down for power conservation and in these periods for attitude control the small thruster jets of Mir and (now) the Progress-M35 are used. Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202.


1997 July 15 - .
  • Mir News 370: Spacewalk (IVA) - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir NASA-4; Mir EO-23. The preparations for the internal EVA were still going on successfully (as far as this can be ascertained by monitoring) when Tsibliyev reported that he had hearth rhythm problems. Initially he discussed this with a doctor, first name Irina, who was not able to diagnose the case and so she did not prescribe medicine. Later on Tsibliyev asked for permission to swallow a pill and for an answer on his question whether he would be able to do the difficult IVA or not. The problem emerged yesterday and now it is known that higher 'doctors' are trying to find a solution. During radio conversations in the passes of orb. 65141 and 65142 it was obvious that the complaints of Tsibliyev will effect further plans.

    The exercise which was on schedule for today (using Kvant-2 to imitate the IVA into Spektr) had been put back and that this was also the case with the IVA itself. Today Tsibliyev declared that if he could have a week to recover and nothing special would occur he wished to do the IVA himself. From the beginning, for instance during the collision , he was so involved in this all that he considers this as his duty. TsUP obviously had other ideas and asked Foale to take the microphone. Foale stated that he had no objections and that he would be very pleased to accomplish this task. He was sure that Tsibliyev would give him the right instructions. Tsibliyev possibly agreed with the possibility that Foale would replace him.

    Foale added that he already knows how to handle the spacesuit Orlan-DMA. Tsibliyev said that the spacesuits were ready for the operation. A few orbits later Mir communicated with TsUP via Altair-2 in phone, but they also exchanged images. For a long time the cosmonauts were in the P.Kh.O (transition section) involved in technical preparations for the IVA. Tsibliyev was the most active crew member during these preparations and did not show signs that he had health- or stress problems. Probably he wants to recapture his place as spacewalker nr. 1. Whether Tsibliyev or Foale will do the IVA is not yet known. The IVA has been put back abt 10 days. Foale did not participate in the discussions from the P.Kh.O. Now and then, but not often, Lazutkin could be heard.

    Altair-2:

    The crew succeeded in restoring the communications from and to Mir via this geostationary satellite. Initially they had problems with their phone during the transmission of TV-images. On Sunday (13.07) they showed little papers with that what they wanted to tell their relatives and friends. On 14.07 they adjusted the installation in which Foale substantially participated. Today, 15.07, the so called Ku-band was fully in use during some passes. Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202.


1997 July 20 - .
  • Mir News 371: Cable trouble - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir NASA-4; Mir EO-23. By accident one member of the Mir crew disconnected a cable connection between a rate-sensor in Module Kristall and the SUD (attitude control computer), which caused a troublesome chain reaction of system failures. Among the systems which did not work anymore were also transmitters in the base block, the UKW-1 transceiver and Telemetry transceivers. So for communications, but also for an alternative attitude control the crew had to use the systems of the fully autonomous Soyuz-TM25.

    During the night hours I use to record transmissions using a time switch. In the morning I did not find anything on my tape and during the pass in orbit 65171, 0548-0559 UTC, the 143.625, 145.985 and the 166/165 mc telemetry transmitters did not show any sign of life. I checked whether they used Altair-2 or not: again negative. A few minutes after the pass Geoff Perry told me that he had heard them on 121.750 mc.

    During the next pass they still used the 121.750 mc during which Geoff Perry heard them laughing in reaction on that what TsUP had said. The first pass in which the 143.625 mc was in use again was during orbit 65173 at 0900 UTC. Tsibliyev reported that there has been some recharging of the accumulators again and consequently they had switched on some systems, i.e. the UKW-1 transmitter and Telemetry transceivers.

    In the early morning of 18.07 I was on duty during the nightly passes. During 2 of them (in orb. 65184 and 65185) all service frequencies remained silent, but I had a hope that conditions had improved for on 145.985 mc there were Packet Radio bursts again. During the pass in orb. 65186 Tsibliyev kept watch in the Base Block and he confirmed that the situation was better than the day before. His 2 colleagues still slept which they badly needed because of the fact, as Tsibliyev stated, they had to endure so much during the last days. During the passes still to follow he also slept and the only sign of life was the continuous rattle of Packet Radio. My oscilloscope did not give any indication that Altair-2's downlink was active.

    VHF:

    The first windows in which VHF-traffic could be monitored here before the early morning hours of 19.07 and as my body was longing for a good night's rest I adjusted my time switch so that during all windows a recorder was active. And of course this time not only for the 143.625 , but also for the 121.750 mc. After a night in which I slept like a log I found a recording of the transmissions on 143.625 mc during the first pass in orb. 65199 (0045 UTC). Lazutkin had the middle watch in the Base Block and he reported good results of the recharging of accumulators and the fact that there was GSO-1 (gyro stabilised orientation), a very slow rotation and the complex flew on one side. Later on Lazutkin was in his couch and only the Packet Radio and Telemetry transmitters were active.

    Altair-2:

    During orbit 65203 Altair-2 showed up again. A signal on 10.825 GHz and on the monitor images of floating cosmonauts, the interior of the Base Block and now and then a glimpse of the damaged Spektr. Also phone in which Foale told that he has to use a list with things he needs for the IVA and components for the Orlan-DMA suit. This list in Russian and he asks for an English translation to make it easier for him in contacts with American experts during training for the IVA and the IVA itself. Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202.


1997 July 22 - .
  • Mir News 372: Decisions taken - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir NASA-4; Mir EO-23. The present crew has been relieved from the task to do the IVA. The announcement was published on 21.07, but contacts between Mir and Earth, for instance in a conversation between Foale and Frank Culbertson made this clear. Another indication was the fact that the preparations for the IVA had been suspended. Foale said that he was a little disappointed for he personally was hoping to do that work, but he thinks it is the right decision politically but also for this crew. Solovyov and Vinogradov will be launched on 5.08 and dock on 7.8.97. Then the present crew has just a week for the transfer of the station. They will return on 14.08.97 in their Soyuz-TM25. At first Foale did not know what to do with himself when he heard of the postponement, but they have been so very busy in the last 2 months that it is good to have some rest and the possibility to get back to the routines.

    Science:

    Foale's opinion is that his role is changed, for he is there no longer for science, but to help them and to learn and whatever. He values the recent experience. Without the power on the modules you cannot say you are doing active science. If you under these circumstances are saying you are doing the science you would not be telling the truth. He will do all what is possible, for instance with the greenhouse and he will be very busy with towels to absorb condensation water from the walls in the modules.

    Eyharts:

    This French spacionaute will not join the crew of M.E. 24. It would have been senseless, but also irresponsible. He will get the opportunity to fly with a later expedition.

    IVA:

    This operation will take place not before 20.08. Before the IVA Solovyov, Vinogradov and Foale will make an autonomous flight with the Soyuz-TM26 to redock this ship from the aft port (+X-axis) to the P.Kh.O. port (-X-axis). During the IVA Foale will be in the Descent Module of Soyuz-TM26 to activate the BO (life compartment) of that ship as an airlock if Solovyov and Vinogradov cannot get airseal in the P.Kh.O. for instance if the new hatch to Spektr is not airtight.

    Altair-2:

    After the restoration of the power situation of the day before the accident with a computer contact. Altair-2 has been used for TV-contacts, phone, data transmissions and the exchange of service radiograms with Packet Radio.

    Radio-amateur activities:

    Foale has now time to speak with radio-amateurs via 145.985 mc. He made also contacts with some European amateurs. Via Packet Radio he issued the following status report: Subject: Status: I am having frequent power problems with tnc, and loosing all msgs. Sorry. No supply store is near at hand. I would do anything for a 9 pin serial adapter. Getting ready for next crew, August 7th Mike, KB5UAC. Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202.


1997 July 28 - .
  • Mir News 373: Routine - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir NASA-4; Mir EO-23. After the announcement of the postponement of the IVA the whole crew showed a great disappointment that they would not do that. But immediately it was obvious that the mood on board was much better. Though 10 days ago they energetically and skilfully worked on the IVA preparations they possibly shrank from the task itself. Many Americans expressed concern about the question what the crew would have to do during the period until their relief. Apparently they thought there on would be an idling bunch of cosmonauts on board.

    This is not true at all: Foale immediately started to fulfil that part of the experimental program for which he does not need the Spektr module: the greenhouse, the study of crystal structures, the beetle experiment and earth observations. And he himself is there: he can continue medical and psychological experiments. He told his American colleagues that the cooled modules Kristall and Priroda attract moisture from the rest of the complex and that the greatest condensation appears in these modules.

    Tsibliyev and Lazutkin are now able to concentrate on the preparations for their return and to continue in a more relaxed way maintenance- and repair work of the life support systems.

    Using air ducts and ventilators Lazutkin blew warm air into the Priroda module and dried this module as much as possible. In a conversation with Mark at TsUP Foale praised Lazutkin for that what he had achieved. The drying of the Priroda made it possible to use it to stow away the hard- and software for the French Pegase expedition and for material and spare parts for the life systems of the complex. Tsibliyev is again fully in command and presents himself in the way I still remember from his flight in 1993/94.

    Altair-2:

    This geostationary satellite is in use regularly , more than Altair-1 in the past, but in view of the fact that 16 windows a day might be possible, they use this possibility relatively seldom. Altair-2 enables the crew to have longer conversations with controllers and experts on Earth. Especially Foale extensively uses this opportunity. The satellite is also in use for the exchange of video images and data to Earth. Obviously the use of the transceiver on board for these communications is limited due to cooling demands. The transceiver and the Elektron have the same cooling loop. Not always the full window for communications via Altair-2 is used. This was the case on 27 and 28.07.

    Cable disconnection:

    It is still unknown who is to blame for this incident. The incident took place during a training for the IVA. During the real IVA this cable has to be disconnected to make it possible to close the hatch between Kristall and the P.Kh.O. So this disconnection must have been mentioned in the timetable for the IVA. I wonder whether or not there was anybody in TsUP who had to monitor the activities of the crew and to warn them not to disconnect that cable, because this was an exercise and not the real thing. Head of Flight Control Solovyov shouted: 'This is not a kindergarten'. Whom did he cry to: the crew or the people with him on Earth? Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202.


1997 July 31 - .
  • Mir News 374: Soyuz-TM26 - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir NASA-4; Mir EO-23. The launch of this ship with on board a crew of 2 for Mir's Main Expedition 24 is still planned for 5.08.1997 at 1535 UTC and if launch and flight go according to plan the docking will take place on 7.08.1997 at 1723 UTC. This time deviates from the normal routine to dock only a few minutes after LOS for the first pass for our position. This time the docking will take place almost 20 minutes later possibly to enable Solovyov and Vinogradov to make a video and/or photo survey of the module Spektr for damage assessment and to see whether Spektr is not the only module that suffered from the blow on 25.06.97. Recently there have been suggestions that there might be more damage than had been supposed initially.

    On 6.08.1997, so 1 day after launch of Soyuz-TM26 the freighter Progress-M35, meanwhile fully loaded with trash , will leave the aft (Kvant +X axis) docking port for a 10 days lasting autonomous flight. On 7.08 Soyuz-TM26 has to dock at that port, but after the departure of Soyuz-TM25 with the relieved crew on 14.08.97, Soyuz-TM26 with on board Solovyov, Vinogradov and Foale have to redock at the forward (P.Kh.O. = -X axis) port as soon as possible. This is scheduled for 15.08.97. They can fly around, but also wait until the Mir complex has made a turn of 180 degrees around the Z-axis.

    After redocking the Russians have to accept another challenge for already on 16.08.97 Progress-M35 has to redock at the aft (+ X axis) port. This time again in the automatic mode with the reliable system Kurs. There will be no time to recover from the sustained strain for the crew will have to deal with the preparations for the IVA on 20.08.97. If this IVA will be awarded by success TsUP can give green light for an EVA (so a real external one) on 3.09.97 for an inspection of the outer surface of Spektr.

    Radio-amateur traffic:

    On 145.985 mc Packet Radio could be monitored in which Foale gave the following Mir-status report: TNC frozen again, this time the PMS. Waiting for a replacement with Mir 24, Anatoliy and Pavel, docking on the 7th. Crew is preparing for their arrival, getting Progress loaded with trash, to be undocked before next crew. Greenhousing, but not yet showing cotyledons. Mike. Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202.


1997 August 5 - . 15:35 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz 11A511U.
  • Soyuz TM-26 - . Call Sign: Rodnik. Crew: Solovyov; Vinogradov. Backup Crew: Padalka; Avdeyev. Payload: Soyuz TM 11F732 s/n 75. Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Solovyov; Vinogradov; Padalka; Avdeyev. Agency: RAKA. Manufacturer: Korolev. Program: Mir. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Flight: Mir EO-24; Mir NASA-4; Mir EO-23. Spacecraft: Soyuz TM. Duration: 197.73 days. Decay Date: 1998-02-19 . USAF Sat Cat: 24886 . COSPAR: 1997-038A. Apogee: 385 km (239 mi). Perigee: 378 km (234 mi). Inclination: 51.7000 deg. Period: 92.20 min. Summary: Mir Expedition EO-24. The Soyuz docked manually at 17:02 GMT August 7. Over the next six months the crew undertook seven internal and external spacewalks to repair the crippled space station..

1997 August 6 - .
  • Mir News 375: Soyuz-TM26 - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir EO-24; Mir NASA-4; Mir EO-23. The perfect launch took place on 5.08.1997 at 15.35.59 UTC. On board the crew for the 24th Main Exp. to Mir, Anatoliy Solovyov and Pavel Vinogradov . Call sign: Rodniki, so Rodnik-1 and Rodnik-2. During the first pass in orb. 2 (1838-1841 UTC) very weak signals on beacon- and telephony frequencies. During the pass in orb. 3 (2007-2011 UTC) very good reception on all frequencies. Solovyov could be heard in a conversation with TsUP. He reported a technical anomaly in the BO (life compartment): a hose (or: tube) was not connected to an air purification unit, which caused an increased amount of CO2 in the mini-atmosphere on board. He told TsUP that he had connected that hose immediately and that the system was functioning normally. Again good signals in the window in orb. 4 (2138-2147 UTC) during which Solovyev repeated his report about that hose.

    Mir:

    During the passes in the evening of 4.08.1997 the crew reported that they were working on the malfunctioning Elektron oxygen generator in Kvant-1. (The Elektron in Kvant-2 is not operational due to power shortages). During a long communication session via Altair-2 in the morning of 5.08.1997 the crew was still co-ordinating the repair work on the Elektron. After the departure of Progress-M35 for a 10 day lasting autonomous flight lithium perchlorate cartridges have to be used for the production of oxygen. This will be not very convenient during the period in which 5 men are on board (7-14.08.97).

    An eventual delay of the Soyuz-TM26 launch due to the problems with the Elektrons has not been taken into consideration.

    In MirNEWS.374 I gave an estimated time for the docking of Soyuz-TM26 on 7.08.97 as 1723 UTC. In that report I remarked that this time considerably deviated from the normal routine: dockings a few minutes after LOS of the first pass of both objects for our position. Inquiries in the Ballistic Section of the Keldysh institute of the R.A.N. learned that there had been a misprint in a Russian message about the estimated docking time. The estimated docking time is: 07.08.97 at 1703 UTC, so in accordance with the normal routine.

    The supply ship Progress-M35 has to free the docking port (+X-axis) for the arrival of the Soyuz-TM26 and will do this on 6.08.97 at 1144 UTC. The autonomous flight of Progress-M35 will last until 16.08.97. On that day Progress-M35 will dock (in the automatic regime with the system Kurs) at the same docking port after the redocking of Soyuz-TM26 to the forward (-X-axis) the day before. Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202.


1997 August 8 - .
  • Mir News 376: Soyuz-TM26 - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir NASA-4; Mir EO-23; Mir EO-24. This transport ship docked at the aft port of Mir on 7.08.1997 at 17.02.08 UTC. During the docking operation communications took place via Altair-2. The approach was in the automatic mode with the system Kurs. When Mir and Soyuz-TM26 came within my VHF-range Solovyov could be heard reporting distances, approach speeds and deviations in course. Everything went perfect until appr. 1700 UTC when a slight upward deviation forced Solovyov to take over manually. The 'Kurs' failure did not get much attention due to the euphoria after the 'successful' docking.

    Opening of the hatches:

    The hatches swung open during the pass in orb. 65507 at 1832 UTC. Normally this is a smooth and orderly procedure but this time there were some problems with the TV-link. Cheerfully both crews met each other. During the pass in orb. 65508, 2006-2013 UTC, TsUP and Solovyov discussed the conservation of the Soyuz-TM26 and some technical items. The session was concluded by the transfer of radiograms from Earth to Mir by Packet Radio.

    Communications during the 2d flight day of Soyuz-TM26:

    In all passes good reception on all frequencies. In a conversation with someone on Earth Vinogradov told that he somewhat suffered from space sickness during the first flight day and in the morning of the 2d one, but after eating somewhat substantial he recovered and was now feeling well.

    Progress-M35: This supply ship undocked from Mir on 6.08 at 11.46.45 UTC.

    Mir:

    Thus far Tsibliyev and Lazutkin did not succeed in repairing the Elektron oxygen generator in Kvant-1. There are some options to solve the problem: 1. With a spare part to be delivered by Atlantis in September, or 2. to try to find a way to deliver power to the Elektron in the now curtailed module Kvant-2. For the time being oxygen has to be generated by the heating of lithium perchlorate cartridges. Not so convenient with 5 men on board.

    Plans:

    (as far as known at deadline for this report) : Return of Tsibliyev and Lazutkin with their Soyuz-TM25 on 14.08.1997. (In my opinion a return of the relieved crew as soon as possible due to the oxygen problems would be a logical decision).

    The redocking of Soyuz-TM26 with on board Solovyov, Vinogradov and Foale from aft to forward docking port (P.Kh.O.) on 15.08. 1997.

    The return and docking in the automatic mode (Kurs) of Progress-M35 at the aft docking port on 16.08.1997. Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202.


1997 August 14 - .
  • Mir News 377: Soyuz-TM25 - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir NASA-4; Mir EO-23; Mir EO-24. This ship separated from on 14.08.97 at 08.55.58 UTC and flew away at 09.01.57 UTC.

    The return capsule (S.A.) of Soyuz-TM25 made a safe landing on 14.08.97 at 12.17.10 UTC at a distance of appr. 160 KM S.E. of Dzjeskazgan in Kazakhstan. The landing took place later than estimated and CNN did not bring the landing as 'live event'. For a long time TsUP could not give the exact spot where the S.A. came down. The radio traffic in which the farewell ceremony took place, and in which the relieved crew went on board Soyuz-TM25 and closed the hatches took place via the facilities of White Sands and Wallops in the U.S.A. and the tracking stations in the East of Russia.

    When Mir and Soyuz-TM25 entered daylight at abt. 1118 UTC communications with TsUP were established via Altair-2 in which Mir relayed traffic from and to Soyuz-TM25 via Altair-2 to TsUP. At abt. 1122 UTC Tsibliyev reported the beginning of the de-orbit burn. He reported continuously the results of the impulses in meters/sec and at 1126 UTC he said that the de-orbit burn had stopped. He went on reporting details of the descent process and at 1145 UTC he announced the separation of the BO (life compartment) and the instrument/motor module from the SA (descent module) in 3 minutes. This took place at 1148 UTC just before the 3 objects entered the dense layers of the atmosphere.

    The BO and Instrument/motor block burnt up and the SA came in the plasma wave. Radio contact ceased and contrary to previous return flights did not come back via Altair. The voices of the men on board Mir could be heard. Foale said that he had seen the Soyuz-TM25 disappearing below them. Altair-2 was switched off at 1201 UTC.

    Plans for tomorrow (15.08): Redocking of Soyuz-TM26 with on board the 3 crew members of Mir from the aft to the forward docking port. After undocking from Mir Soyuz-TM26 will hover and wait until Mir turned 180 dgs so that the forward (P.Kh.O.) port will be in front of Soyuz-TM26. During this operation lasting from abt. 1322-1410 UTC the crew will carry out an extensive photo- and video observation for damage assessment.

    Progress-M35: As far as known at deadline for this report Progress-M35 will redock at Mir's aft docking port on 17.08.97 at abt 1330 UTC. (So not as suggested in previous reports on 16.08.1997).

    Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202.


1997 August 14 - .
  • Landing of Soyuz TM-25 - . Return Crew: Tsibliyev; Lazutkin. Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Tsibliyev; Lazutkin. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir EO-24; Mir NASA-4; Mir EO-23. Following a mission that seemed to consist of an endless series of collisions, breakdowns, fires, and other emergencies, the EO-23 crew handed over the station to EO-24 and on August 14 entered Soyuz TM-25 landed in Kazakstan at 12:17 UTC, 170 km SE of Dzezkazgan. The Soyuz landing rockets failed to fire on touchdown, giving one of the roughest landings experienced by a returning Mir crew.

1997 August 17 - .
  • Mir News 378: Progress-M35 - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir NASA-4; Mir EO-24. The redocking of this 'old' supply ship at the Mir complex did not take place on 17.08. During the first 3 passes of both objects it was obvious that Progress-M35 was continuing her autonomous flight. During the second pass the deputy head of mission control, Viktor Blagov, told the crew about changes in the work schedule for the next 2 days. The IVA would remain on schedule for 20.08.97.

    Reason postponement: The data for the approach of Progress-M35 today transmitted by TsUP to the Progress-M35 turned out to be wrong and Progress-M35's OBC shut itself off. At deadline for this report the docking of Progress-M35 at Mir was (still) planned for 18.08 at 1257 UTC.

    Soyuz-TM26: The redocking of this transport ship from the aft to the forward docking port took place on 15.08.97 between 13.29.20 and 14.13.04 UTC. At 1327 UTC, so just before separation, radio traffic from Soyuz-TM26 via Altair-2 could be heard. The safety clamps of the docking mechanism had been loosened and the program was proceeding according to plan. At 13.29.20 UTC Solovyov reported the separation and the fact that Soyuz-TM26 was slowly moving away from Mir. S. steered Soyuz-TM26 in the manual mode to be able to adjust the attitude of the ship in such a way that Vinogradov and Foale could make good images of the 'damage areas'.

    At 13.29.51 UTC Altair-2 transmitted an image of the whole complex seen by a camera of the ship. At 13.35.59 UTC S. reported the proceedings of the flight. He asked Foale whether he already was doing his photo- and video work and asked him for instructions to adjust the ship's attitude for the best images. Communications via Altair-2 ceased at 13.42.58 UTC, but a few minutes later S. could be heard via 121.750 mc (1401-1409 UTC). 4 minutes later S. accomplished a perfect docking at the forward (P.Kh.O. - transition section) port of the complex.

    Back on board Mir S. told TsUP that the images they had made were very good and certainly useful for analyses. In a conversation with Earth Foale told that they intended to transmit these images to TsUP on 18.08 and he was sure that TV stations all over the world would retransmit these. (The TV shots which already had been shown by TV stations came from short direct links with Russian tracking stations.)

    Elektron: Already on the day of the return of the relieved crew Vinogradov succeeded in restoring the Elektron oxygen generator in Kvant-1. It was very difficult to reach the spot where he had to clean Elektron. A white-brown jelly-like substance had stopped up a pipe inside Elektron and had to be cleaned. After purging this pipe he was able to restart Elektron and after 1 orbit Solovyov reported that Elektron was working normally. As far as could be derived from radio traffic Elektron still does thus far.

    Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202.


1997 August 19 - .
  • Mir News 379: Mir video transmissions - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir NASA-4; Mir EO-24. In the morning of Monday 18.08 Mir transmitted to Earth video films and images made during the redocking of Soyuz-TM26 on 15.08. These transmissions took place during a Mir-Altair-2 window between 0542-0628 UTC. At 0601 UTC the crew stopped transmitting images and switched over to the co-ordination of IVA preparations with TsUP. During these activities the IVA was still scheduled for 20.08. This day Progress-M35 returned to the complex and docked at the aft docking port at 12.52.47 UTC. 10 Seconds later both objects disappeared behind the eastern horizon.

    Radio traffic during the beginning of the final phase of the docking operation went via Altair-2. Progress-M35 was at a distance of 800 M from Mir and the approach speed was 11.31 cm/sec. The crew of Mir observed the approaching supply-ship on a display of the LIV camera. A few minutes before the objects came in my range Altair-2 had been switched off and at 1246 UTC traffic went on via 143.625mc. S. reported distances and approach speeds. At 125045 UTC the distance was 12 M. At a distance of appr. 4 M. at 125156 UTC Kurs did not work. (Later on it turned out that Kurs had switched itself off at a distance of 20 M due to an irregularity in the attitude of Mir).

    After the docking of Progress-M35 I did not get time to relax for Geoff Perry told me that TsUP just had informed the press about a failure of the main OBC of Mir, the Ts.V.M.-1. Very often such failures happened before and it always causes a breakdown of the SUD (attitude control). The SUD is responsible for the good functioning of the gyrodynes and consequently these gyroscopes cry off. Commander Solovyov experienced a Ts.V.M.-1 failure in 1995 when he and Budarin made an autonomous flight with Soyuz-TM21 during the departure of Atlantis from Mir. S. immediately docked his ship, went aboard Mir and restored the Ts.V.M.-1.

    During all available passes in the evening Mir and TsUP discussed the problems. A specialist on Earth uttered the possibility that there was something wrong with the Ts.M.O. (central exchange module), an interface of the Ts.V.M.-1. He told the crew how to find that module and he gave them instructions for the repair. Foale told one of his countrymen in Moscow about his experiences during the final approach of Progress-M35. Through the viewer of his video camera he saw the Progress-M35 coming in very fast and he realised that something was wrong. He said: oh, no not again.. At that moment Progress-M35 slowed down and stopped and Solovyov took over manually.

    Foale emphasised that Progress-M35's computer had switched off Kurs due to divergence in the attitude of Mir. This was for Solovyov the signal to switch over to manual control. S. performed a perfect docking: in fact the Kurs system as well as the TORU remote control worked well. Situation in the evening of 19.08.97: The crew used the Soyuz-TM26 for the stabilisation of Mir's attitude and in the course of 19.08 the solar panels delivered twice as much energy as they did on 18.08. Meanwhile the Ts.V.M.-1 has been repaired and was ready for tests. At this point it was not known whether attitude control of the complex was provided by gyrodynes. .

    The crew resumed preparations for the IVA now planned for Friday 22.08.97 or Saturday 23.08.97. ECG's of the 'spacewalkers' have been transmitted to Earth and Solovyov as well as Vinogradov had already put on their spacesuits and checked the communication facilities and the electrical contacts of these suits.

    Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202.


1997 August 22 - . 11:14 GMT - .
  • EVA Mir EO-24-1 - . Crew: Solovyov; Vinogradov. EVA Type: Internal Vehicular Activity. EVA Duration: 0.14 days. Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Solovyov; Vinogradov. Program: Mir. Class: Manned. Type: Manned space station. Flight: Mir NASA-4; Mir EO-24. Spacecraft: Mir. Summary: Connected Spektr power cables. Surveyed interior of depressurised Spektr module. Retrieved equipment and belongings from module..

1997 August 25 - .
  • Mir News 380: Internal Spacewalk (IVA) - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir NASA-4; Mir EO-24. Internal Spacewalk (IVA) accomplished on 22.08.97 from 1114-1430 UTC. Some minor technical irregularities caused a delay of more than 2 hours. The crew worked according to a checklist (cyclogram). This checklist contained hundreds of items. The activities according to this checklist continued when the Mir was out of range of tracking stations or the geostationary Altair-2. This time Altair-2 was in use for phone conversations only. Altair-2 was active long before the IVA began, for instance during orbit 65734 from 0640-0732 UTC. The crew donned their spacesuits and Foale went on board Soyuz-TM26.

    According to plan the preparations for the IVA had to be concluded and the hatch to Spektr had to be opened during the window in orb. 65735, 0826-0910 UTC. A valve (KVD) between the P.Kh.O. and one of the modules (possibly module-T) could not be closed which caused a delay of about 1 hour.

    In orbit 65736 (0958-1043 UTC) all went well and at 1015 UTC the pressure in P.Kh.O. (serving as airlock for this IVA) was 50 mm. At that moment the pressure in the space suit of Vinogradov decreased due to a leak in his left glove. The crew immediately repressurised the P.Kh.O. They did this before the end of the window and Vinogradov could put on a spare glove. At 1114 UTC when the Mir was out of range the hatch to Spektr had been opened.

    Orbit 65737, 1135-1216 UTC.:

    IVA going on. All went well. Solovyov had joined Vinogradov inside the module. Vinogradov had already connected cables at the connectors of the new hatch and except for a single cable he did not met problems. During this window and the following one (orb. 65738/39, 1310-1400 UTC) V. and S. inspected the interior of Spektr and retrieved a lot of thus far not specified items from there. During these activities they consulted Foale. Vinogradov reported that he saw ventilators and pumps which were still working. He and S. did not find traces of exploded monitors or test-tubes. They did not succeed in finding places where the hull of Spektr had been penetrated. At last V. and S. left the Spektr to prepare the closure of the hatch. Foale , keeping a log book, reported that the hatch had been closed at 1430 UTC.

    After repressurising the P.Kh.O. in orb. 65740 (1448-1528 UTC), Foale joined his colleagues over there. In a short statement he expressed his admiration for the achievements of his crew mates and those on Earth who had been working on this operation. Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202.


1997 September 3 - .
  • Mir News 381: Power supply - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir NASA-4; Mir EO-24. Vinogradov worked hard on the deployment of cables from the Spektr hatch to other modules and gradually he succeeded in restoring a part of the power supply for the modules Kvant-2 and Kristall. The 3 undamaged solar panels of Spektr delivered power, but rotation to achieve maximum solar illumination is not yet possible. Solovyov struggled along to keep Elektron in Kvant-1 operational and he also used power for the restoration of the Elektron in Kvant-2. On 25.08 Elektron in Kvant-1 shut itself off and the TGK (the solid fuel oxygen generator) did not work due to a defective firing pin. Before the outbreak of the usual press panic the cosmonauts had already repaired the TGK and Elektron in Kvant-1. The power supply is partly restored in Kvant-2 and Kristall: the lights are burning, the heating functions again and the drying process is going on.

    EVA preparations:

    Solovyov and Foale were convinced that they would get green light for the EVA on 6.09 and they started the preparations. Several times they donned their Orlan-M suits, checked all systems and took a stock of all the equipment needed for the EVA. Foale saw a film of his EVA training with Budarin in TsPK. He and S. also reviewed the so called 'cyclogram' of the EVA. The training of Foale during which Solovyov was instructor served also as a test to determine whether Foale will be able to do the EVA or not.

    Communications:

    The Altair-2 is regularly in use for communications between Mir and TsUP. They use this satellite for phone as well as for TV. On 1, 2 and 3.09 they showed images of their training, also with their space suits on, but also now and then video films of the interior and the outer surface of the complex. If on 4.09.1997 a positive decision will be taken the EVA will be made on 6.09.97. Opening of the hatch: 0055 UTC; planned duration 5 hrs 40 mins. Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202.


1997 September 6 - .
  • Mir News 382: Spacewalk. - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir NASA-4; Mir EO-24. Spacewalk (EVA):

    The EVA began on 6.09 at 0107 UTC (hatch open) and ended at 0707 UTC (hatch closed). Everything went well. Directed by the old hand Solovyov (this was his 10th EVA!) Foale did all what he was supposed to do. His main job was the operation of the Strela , the crane to transport Solovyov to Spektr. Regularly instructed by Solovyov he did this in a perfect way. Vinogradov observed the 'spacewalkers' from inside Mir, helped them with advice and made images using video- and other camera's. After 0230 UTC the Russians used every 'window' of Altair-2, but mainly for phone only. Towards the end of the first window there was a short video transmission in which images made by Vinogradov could be monitored. The inspection of the outer surface of Spektr lasted longer than planned.

    Solovyov reported about the damages suffered by Spektr. One solar panel and some radiators were severely damaged. Support struts were broken or buckled. Solovyov did not find holes or punctures. The planned installation of a cap for the outlet valve for a Vozdukh CO2 scrubber in the Base Block has been put back until another EVA.

    During the EVA everybody was in a good mood. Although Solovyov had a difficult task to perform , even now and then his gasping could be heard, he was fully in control of the situation. Before entering the air-lock Foale had dismantled an American radiation dosimeter for retrieval.

    At abt. 0702 UTC both 'spacewalkers' entered the air-lock and at 0704 UTC Foale got orders to close the hatch. Initially the hatch could not be closed, but after using some extra effort Foale could report at 0707 UTC that he had succeeded. Solovyov confirmed this after seeing an indicator showing the sign 'hatch closed'.

    This time for the Russians MOLODTSY and for Foale: WELL DONE.

    Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202.


1997 September 6 - . 01:07 GMT - .
  • EVA Mir EO-24-2 - . Crew: Solovyov; Foale. EVA Type: Extra-Vehicular Activity. EVA Duration: 0.25 days. Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Solovyov; Foale. Program: Mir. Class: Manned. Type: Manned space station. Flight: Mir EO-24; Mir NASA-4. Spacecraft: Mir. Summary: Inspected exterior of Spektr. Moved solar arrays..

1997 September 10 - .
  • Mir News 383: Progress-M35 - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir NASA-4; Mir EO-24. This old supply-ship has been keeping watch at the aft (Kvant-1) docking port as of 18.08, the day of the redocking. Due to the well-known priorities the crew has not paid any attention to this ship until 8.09.97. One of the first tasks of the this day was the opening of the hatch and the inspection of Progress-M35's interior. The main function of the Progress-M35 was the protection of the docking mechanism of Kvant-1 against the sun. The freighter has still room in which garbage and other no longer needed material can be stowed. During the first pass for our position in orb. 65998 (0522 UTC) preparations for the opening of the hatch were going on. The crew got permission to open the hatch after the air seal checks. During the next pass in orb. 65999 ( the Russians consider this orbit to be number 66000) the hatch had already been opened but Solovyov had set this ajar for the smell which came out of the Progress-M35 was far from a 'kurort smell'. The crew however had to cease all activities with the Progress-M35 due to other concerns.

    Main Computer failure:

    In the pass in orb. 65999 TsUP wants to discuss the air seal check with Vinogradov. V. interrupts TsUP with the statement that a few minutes ago (exactly 0700 UTC) the Ts.V.M.-1 had shut itself down. After this report followed the usual chain reaction: the SUD (system for movements- or attitude control) stopped and Foale reported that this was also the case with the SUD in Module-D (Kvant-2). Systems like SRV-U (regeneration of water from urine) and Elektron had to be switched off. TsUP gave orders to burn 3 lithium perchlorate cartridges for oxygen generation. (Solovyov stated repeatedly that the delivery of a new supply of those cartridges during mission STS-86 is badly needed.) Foale reported that the angle of the solar panels to the sun was unfavourable, but that the complex though inclining a little bit on one side, was stable. In passing TsUP stated that they have a jubilee: the 66000th orbit of Mir's Base Block. This statement did not evoke joyful reactions or congratulations.

    In spite of the complicated situation on board there was some excitement: the 'scapegoats of the space era' ,Tsibliyev and Lazutkin, visited TsUP and had a short conversation with their colleagues in space. Foale, the crewman with a great sense of humour, told Tsibliyev that his 'darling' the SUD, again chucked the thing. After a short conversation with these 2 poor guys on earth about the fact that they would depart for a vacation, the crew set back to work.

    About the computer:

    The crew restarted the computer, but failed to find the cause of the failure. So they switched the computer off. A specialist told Vinogradov that there must be a spare Ts.M.O. on board which eventually could be used to replace the present Ts.M.O. (Central Module for Data exchange). The failure of the Ts.V.M.-1 during the redocking operation of the Progress-M35 had probably been caused by a defective Ts.M.O. In the course of the day it was obvious that the crew had everything under control and that the repair of the computer was successfully proceeding. During the night Solovyov was on duty to keep his eye on the situation and to assist TsUP during the reloading of the repaired computer. In the morning of 9.09 Solovyov was still on duty during the first pass over here in orbit 66013, 0427 UTC.

    Depending on the state of the SEP (Power supply system) they would power up the rest of the gyrodyne's this day. During the next pass Vinogradov was on duty and Solovyov tried to get some rest in his sleeping bag. Already 6 gyrodyne's were spinning, the Elektron had been switched on, lights were burning and ventilators were buzzing again. Vinogradov reported about the problems he had met while powering up the computer. He had met the same problems like Lazutkin a few weeks ago.

    Stabilisation:

    At the beginning of the next day (10.09) it was obvious that the situation had been stabilising gradually. All available gyrodyne's were functioning and the crew could eventually restart experiments. The main activity consisted of the reanimation of the Module Priroda. The interior of this module will be dried with hot air. To blow this hot air into the module air-hoses are used.

    Next spacewalk (EVA):

    After the arrival of Progress-M36 in the beginning of October.

    Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202.


1997 September 16 - .
  • Mir News 384: Priroda - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir NASA-4; Mir EO-24. Drying out of this module lasted longer than expected. In the evening of 11.09 Vinogradov collected 8 litres of condense water.

    Kristall:

    This module is dry. This is not the case with the SO (docking compartment) attached at Kristall. The crew supposed that they have to dry out this SO in the same way as they do with Priroda.

    On 14.09 TsUP asks Vinogradov whether the crew already used condensation for drinking water. Analyses of water samples delivered on earth on 14.08 should justify the potable use of water from condensation. Vinogradov said that they did not thus far, but that they have used this water for the refilling of the Elektron.

    On 14.09 at 1028 UTC the crew got orders to switch off the Ts.V.M.-1 (Main OBC). Telemetry indicated that 2 of the 3 channels (possibly interfaces) of that computer produced incorrect data. Due to the better charged accumulators this time the usual 'chain-reaction' was not as abrupt as during Ts.V.M.-1 failures in the past. Nevertheless the SUD, the attitude control, switched itself off and the gyrodynes slowed down and stopped. The Elektron, which consumes 1 kW was switched off. The complex came in the so called 'free drift'.

    When on 15.09 the station passed over here for the 3d time in orb. 66107 (0509 UTC) the cosmonauts had switched on the Ts.V.M.-1 as well as the SUD. This was only for a short period. Later on both systems were 'off'. The cosmonauts got permission to dismantle the computer and to replace some parts and/or accessories. At TsUP considerations were going on about the replacement of this computer by a reserve which has been in stock for a long time if the repairs might fail. At last the decision was taken to have the whole computer replaced and so the crew did. In the evening the cosmonauts rebooted the 'new' computer. In the night from 15 to 16.09 Solovyov was on duty while experts at TsUP loaded data in the computer. As soon as the computer was operational the attitude of the complex could be stabilised.

    On 16.09 at 02.15.03 UTC the orientation was restored in such a manner that recharging of the accumulators could begin. Radio traffic revealed that the situation was normalising. A number of systems, among which the Elektron, remained off. For oxygen production the cosmonauts continued to use 'disks' (lithium perchlorate cartridges). The pressure of Mir's atmosphere was 618 mm mercury.

    More computer news:

    Progress-M36 has to deliver a brand-new computer in October this year.

    Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202.


1997 September 22 - .
  • Mir News 385: MAIN COMPUTER FAILURE - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir NASA-4; Mir EO-24. On 22.09 at 0123 UTC the crew was waked up by the alarm signal: Check the SUD (attitude control). When they did they saw that the Ts.V.M.-1, the main computer had switched itself off. Solovyov reported this to TsUP during the pass over here in orbit 66214, 0130-0140 UTC. The first system to be switched was again the oxygen generator Elektron.

    During the pass in orb. 66215, 0305-0316 UTC, S. reported that initially the attitude of the complex was not so good. The complex is flying the so called free drift. The supply from the solar panels decreased to a level of 200 Amperes.

    Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202.


1997 September 26 - . 02:34 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39A. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-86.
  • STS-86 - . Call Sign: Atlantis. Crew: Wetherbee; Bloomfield; Titov, Vladimir; Parazynski; Chretien; Lawrence; Wolf. Payload: Atlantis F20 / Spacehab-DM. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Wetherbee; Bloomfield; Titov, Vladimir; Parazynski; Chretien; Lawrence; Wolf. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: Mir. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-86; Mir NASA-5; Mir NASA-4; Mir EO-24. Spacecraft: Atlantis. Duration: 10.81 days. Decay Date: 1997-10-06 . USAF Sat Cat: 24964 . COSPAR: 1997-055A. Apogee: 381 km (236 mi). Perigee: 354 km (219 mi). Inclination: 51.6000 deg. Period: 91.90 min. Atlantis was launched on a mission to the Russian Mir space station. The TI rendevous terminal initiation burn was carried out at 17:32 GMT on September 27, and Atlantis docked with the SO (Docking Module) on the Mir complex at 19:58 GMT. The crew exchange was completed on September 28, with David Wolf replacing Michael Foale on the Mir crew. On October 1 cosmonaut Titov and astronaut Parazynski conducted a spacewalk from the Shuttle payload bay while Atlantis was docked to Mir. They retrieved four MEEP (Mir Environmental Effects Payload ) exposure packages from Mir's SO module and installed the Spektr solar array cap. The MEEP experiments had been attached to the Docking Module by astronauts Linda Godwin and Rich Clifford during Shuttle mission STS-76 in March 1996. In addition to retrieving the MEEP, Parazynski and Titov were to continue an evaluation of the Simplified Aid For EVA Rescue (SAFER), a small jet-backpack designed for use as a type of life jacket during station assembly.

    Atlantis undocked from Mir at 17:28 GMT on October 3 and conducted a flyaround focused on the damaged Spektr Module to determine the location of the puncture in its hull. The Mir crew pumped air into the Spektr Module using a pressure regulator valve, and the Shuttle crew observed evidence that, as expected, the leak seemed to be located at the base of the damaged solar panel. Final separation of Atlantis from Mir took place around 20:28 GMT. After two landing attempts were waved off on October 5 due to heavy cloud cover, the crew fired the engines to deorbit at 20:47 GMT on October 6 and landed at Kennedy Space Center at 21:55.


1997 September 29 - .
  • Mir News 386: Computer failure - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: STS-86; Mir NASA-5; Mir NASA-4; Mir EO-24. Compared to computer failures in the past the crew was able to restore the situation very quickly. In the night from 22 to 23.09 the crew successfully rebooted the same computer which they had replaced last week. The computer which failed on 22.09 had been stored for a long period in a cold and wet module.

    The following day the crew restarted a number of gyrodynes. Another failure they had to cope with was a malfunctioning ventilator of the Vozdukh, the CO2 filter. The replacement of this ventilator was easy, but the crew lost much time in finding a spare. The crew changed their sleep schedule to prepare for the arrival of Atlantis and for the period in which Atlantis will be attached to Mir. To be sure that the computer will remain operational the crew used an air duct for cooling. The gyrodynes functioned normally on 24.09 and so did the Vozdukh. During a direct TV-session in the early morning of 25.09 Foale commented images from the interior of the Base Block and explained the problems with the computer. He also showed some video-recordings of his EVA on 6.09.

    Launch of Atlantis for mission STS-86:

    On 26.09 at 0234 UTC Atlantis was launched while Mir flew over Europa and communicated with TsUP. The crew was listening to a direct report of the launch. No reaction could be monitored for Mir disappeared over the horizon.

    Atlantis, communications:

    Exactly 19 minutes after the launch (0253-0300 UTC) Atlantis was in our range and communicated with Houston via a tracking station in Spain. Wetherbee reported a minor failure which he should ignore. So he did with some other minor problems. He assured Houston to keep an eye on those matters.

    Docking Atlantis:

    In the course of 27.09 one of the channels of the computer behaved in a strange way. This lasted only a few milliseconds. A long time before the rendezvous Atlantis and Mir were in range of each other enabling both crews were to communicate via direct VHF-channels. Regretfully this all took place out of our range. At abt. 1900 UTC Atlantis reached a point at 200 Metes below Mir. From there by the use of the R-bar (or radial vector) approach she gently drifted to Mir with only a few little corrections with steering rockets by Wetherbee. After altering his approach due to a minor deviation of the attitude of the Mir-complex he flawlessly docked Atlantis at Mir. The Russians reported this success with the words 'kasaniye and zakhvat' (touch and capture). After a few minutes followed the hard mate and the airtight checks. The equalisation gave some problems: Foale felt pain is his ears and in Spacehab an alarm indicated that the equalisation was proceeding too quickly.

    For me it was a pleasure to hear Titov again from Mir. Almost 9 years ago he left Mir after being in space for 366 days. (He then returned to earth together with Jean Loup Chretien, who had been in Mir for almost a month.)

    Relief:

    On the first full day of the Atlantis/Mir link-up Wolf replaced Foale as a member of the Mir crew, when Wolf's seat liner for his seat in the Soyuz-TM26 had been installed in this ' ferry- and rescue vehicle'. Wolf will use the Module-D as his working- and living quarters. He will sleep in the airlock of that module.

    Radio traffic Mir:

    During the Atlantis/Mir link-up Mir will use the communications facilities of the Shuttle as well as the normal Mir frequencies. The Shuttle is also equipped with the 130.165 mc, the so called VHF-1. On board of the Shuttle this channel is AB-2. In the night from 28 to 29.09 Mir communicated with TsUP Moscow on 143.625 mc. During this traffic TsUP reported that the Shuttle was flying in 'free drift'. This took place in the framework of an attitude control experiment. During the next pass for our position at abt. 2200 UTC the Shuttle was in control of the attitude again.

    Spacewalk (EVA):

    This EVA will be made by Parazynski and Titov and is scheduled for 1.10 between 1844-2334 UTC (date and timeline not yet fully confirmed). The astronauts will retrieve a container with the MEEP experiment and 'park' a cap which might be necessary for the repair of Spektr's hull. In fact this will be an American EVA and the astronauts will enter open space through the airlock of the Shuttle. During the windows in which Atlantis/Mir is in range it might be worthwhile to monitor Shuttle's EVA frequency 279.000 mc (mode AM-Wide).

    Installation of the new computer:

    Possibly this computer will be installed during the Atlantis/Mir link-up. A final decision still has to be taken. If so this will be done after the EVA. If circumstances demand this the link-up of Atlantis and Mir can be extended by 24 hours.

    Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202.


1997 October 1 - .
1997 October 5 - . 15:08 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz 11A511U.
  • Progress M-36 - . Payload: Progress M s/n 237. Mass: 7,195 kg (15,862 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: RAKA. Manufacturer: Korolev. Program: Mir. Class: Manned. Type: Manned logistics spacecraft. Flight: STS-86; Mir NASA-5; Mir NASA-4; Mir EO-24. Spacecraft: Progress M. Duration: 74.92 days. Decay Date: 1997-12-19 . USAF Sat Cat: 25002 . COSPAR: 1997-058A. Apogee: 390 km (240 mi). Perigee: 378 km (234 mi). Inclination: 51.7000 deg. Period: 92.20 min. Summary: Unmanned resupply vessel to Mir. Docked with Mir on 8 Oct 1997 17:07:09 GMT. Undocked on 17 Dec 1997 06:01:53 GMT. Destroyed in reentry on 19 Dec 1997 13:20:01 GMT. Total free-flight time 5.39 days. Total docked time 69.54 days..
  • X-Mir Inspector - . Payload: Inspector. Nation: Germany. Agency: DASA. Manufacturer: Bremen. Program: Mir. Class: Manned. Type: Manned logistics spacecraft. Flight: STS-86; Mir NASA-5; Mir NASA-4; Mir EO-24. Spacecraft: Inspector. Decay Date: 1998-11-02 . USAF Sat Cat: 25100 . COSPAR: 1997-058D. Apogee: 387 km (240 mi). Perigee: 377 km (234 mi). Inclination: 51.7000 deg. Period: 91.10 min.

1997 October 6 - .
  • Mir News 387: Communications Mir during mission STS86 - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: STS-86; Mir NASA-5; Mir NASA-4; Mir EO-24. The communications to and from the Mir during the link-up period of Atlantis and Mir demonstrated what we can expect when of the International Space station the Russian and American segments will be operational. For matters regarding the whole complex the American side will take care for the communications and traffic between the Russian segment and TsUP-M will only concern Russian matters (experiments, maintenance, advice, etc.) The lion's share of the communications went via Atlantis. During windows in which the Mir was able to communicate via Russian tracking facilities they only handled Russian matters. The communications between Mir and Atlantis took place via an intercom system. Sometimes Atlantis also took care of the Packet Radio traffic for Mir. During the link-up Mir seldom used the Altair-2 facility. Images of the approach of Atlantis and the EVA of Parazynski and Titov made from inside Mir were directly transmitted to earth via Russian tracking stations on UHF frequencies. Sometimes the comments on those images went via the VHF channel. On 28.09 Altair-2 was in use for the relay of video-recordings.

    Progress-M36:

    This freighter blasted off from Baykonur on 5.10.1997 at 15.08.57 UTC. All went well. The Progress-M36 will deliver the normal cargo: water, food, fuel, experiments and a spare computer. Among the repair material is a special glue ('germetik') to be used during the repair of the Spektr. Progress-M36 is expected to dock at Mir's aft docking port (Kvant-1 +X axis) on 7.10 at 1642 UTC.

    Transmissions Progress-M36:

    On 5.10 during the 3d orbit (1944-1946 UTC) Telemetry was heard in the 165 and 166 mc bands. During the 4th orbit (2114-2119 UTC) the signals in the 165 and 166 mc were very strong. The transmitter on 922.755mc was active during that pass. TCA was at 21.15.54 UTC

    Progress-M35:

    This old freighter is no longer needed and will separate from Mir on 6.10 at 1124 UTC for a short autonomous flight and decay in the atmosphere over a designated area in the Pacific East of New Zealand at 1424 UTC.

    Mini-sputnik:

    A small copy of Sputnik-1 will also be delivered by Progress-M36. During the next EVA of Solovyov and Vinogradov on 16.10.1997 this Sputnik will be 'launched' manually. This satellite will send 'bleeps' on a frequency in the 2 Meter amateur band to recall the launch of the first artificial earth satellite on 4.10.1957.

    Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202.


1997 October 6 - .
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