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Soyuz TM-13
Part of Mir
Mir core
Mir core
Credit: NASA
Mir Expedition EO-10. Only Russian EO crewmember left after a paying British passenger was found and political necessity of flying a Kazakh cosmonaut. EO-9 crew Krikalyov stayed aboard as the other EO-10 crewmember.

AKA: Donbass (Donbass - River Don basin);Mir EO-10;Soyuz TM-13 (Volkov Aleksandr). Launched: 1991-10-02. Returned: 1992-03-25. Number crew: 1 . Duration: 175.12 days.

Transported to the Mir manned orbital station an international crew comprising the cosmonauts A Volkov (USSR), T Aubakirov (USSR) and F. Viehbock (Austria), to conduct joint scientific and technical research with the cosmonauts A. Artsebarsky and S Krikalyov. Austria paid $ 7 million for mission. Kazakh cosmonaut added at last minute. On March 25, Volkov, Krikalyov and Flade undocked from the front port in Soyuz TM-13 and landed in Kazakhstan at 08:51 GMT on March 25.

Narrative (adapted from D S F Portree's Mir Hardware Heritage, NASA RP-1357, 1995)

Soyuz TM-13 arrived at Mir on 4 October, 1991. It carried Austrian cosmonaut-researcher Franz Viehboeck and Kazakh cosmonaut-researcher Toktar Aubakirov. The flight was unusual for carrying no flight engineer. Veteran Russian cosmonaut Alexandr Volkov commanded. The Austrians paid $7 million to fly Viehboeck to Mir, and the Kazakh cosmonaut flew partly in an effort to encourage newly-independent Kazakhstan to continue to permit launchings from Baikonur Cosmodrome. The cosmonaut-researchers photographed their respective countries from orbit and conducted the usual range of materials processing and medical experiments. Artsebarsky traded places with Volkov and returned to Earth in Soyuz TM-12. Krikalyov remained aboard Mir on his unplanned long-duration mission together with Volkov to make up the EO-10 crew.

By this time, Volkov observed, the Mir base block had suffered orbital debris and meteoroid damage on the flat sealing surface of one of its docking rings and on most of its windows. Progress M-10 broke off its first docking attempt on October 19 at a distance of 150 m. It successfully docked on October 21.

The Cosmos 1897 Altair/SR satellite drifted to 90 deg E in the geostationary belt by March. By late April the Soviets had maneuvered it back to 95 deg E, but by the end of 1991 it had drifted to 77 deg E and was widely considered inoperative. The other Altair/SR satellite, Cosmos 2054, continued to serve as a communications relay between Russia and Mir. In October the cosmonauts extended a Diagramma boom from Mir's small airlock to test the atmosphere around the station. Mir problems. The cosmonauts ended 1991 by replacing storage batteries and conducting ongoing repairs on the complex. At the end of the year total solar array power production was down to 10 kW. In addition, 4 of 6 gyrodynes on Kvant 2 and 1 of 6 gyrodynes on Kvant (5 of Mir's total of 12) had failed.

Progress M-10 topped off Mir's propellant tanks on January 13. Undocking planned for January 18 was postponed by a problem with the wiring of Mir's gyrodynes, which affected the station's attitude. When it undocked on January 20, it carried a Raduga return capsule, which was safely recovered.

On January 27, 1992 Progress M-11 arrived. The spacecraft carried a repair kit for the station's gyrodynes. During its approach to the station, flight controllers in the TsUP were on strike for higher rates of pay, but they did not interfere with the docking. Progress-M 11 boosted the complex into a 413 km by 380 km orbit before undocking. In January 1991 the fleet of ocean-going tracking ships in place since the early 1960s was phased out of Mir operations to save funds. Some of the ships continued to operate to support unmanned missions, and could step in as a backup when needed to support Mir. By mid-February, Mir was spending up to 9 hrs each day out of touch with the TsUP because of tracking system cutbacks.

On February 20 Volkov and Krikalyov opened the Kvant 2 EVA hatch for what would be Krikalyov's seventh EVA in less than a year. The heat exchanger on Volkov's Orlan-DMA spacesuit failed, forcing a hasty revision of the EVA plans. Volkov remained near the hatch, so could not operate the Strela boom to move Krikalyov to the prime work site on Kvant. Volkov assisted in installation of space exposure experiments near the hatch, then Krikalyov clambered down Kvant 2 and over the hull to Kvant. He disassembled equipment used in building the Sofora girder in July 1991, then cleaned the cameras on Kvant. Finally, he collected samples of solar cells added to the third (top) array on the base block in 1988. The EVA lasted 4 hr, 12 min.

Soyuz-TM 14 arrived on March 19. Aboard was the EO-11 crew, Alexandr Viktorenko and Alexandr Kaleri, and Klaus Dietrich Flade, who became the second German to visit a space station. The first was Sigmund Jaehn of East Germany, who visited Salyut 6 in 1978. During his six days aboard Mir, Flade conducted 14 German experiments as part of Germany's preparation for participation in the Freedom and Columbus space station projects.

Sergei Krikalyov was to have returned to Earth in October 1991, but moves to cut costs had forced modifications to his mission. A Soyuz-TM flight was cancelled, and his replacement, Alexandr Kaleri, was bumped from the Soyuz-TM 13 flight to make way for Toktar Aubakirov on the Soyuz-TM 13 flight. Krikalyov had to remain on board Mir. Western news agencies had reported that Krikalyov was stranded on Mir, though this was of course incorrect. Krikalyov, together with Flade and Volkov, undocked from Mir aboard Soyuz TM-13 on 25 March. They landed uneventfully, although NPO Energia had to pay Kazakh authorities $15,000 in rents for airports and helicopters during the recovery operation.

More at: Soyuz TM-13.

Family: Manned spaceflight. People: Volkov, Aleksandr. Spacecraft: Soyuz TM.
Photo Gallery

Mir in orbitMir in orbit
Credit: RKK Energia

Soyuz TM-13Soyuz TM-13
Aubakirov on way to launch vehicle.
Credit: RKK Energia

Soyuz TM-13Soyuz TM-13
Aubakirov aboard Mir.
Credit: RKK Energia

1991 October 2 - . 05:59 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz-U2.
1991 October 17 - . 00:05 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz-U2.
1991 December 5 - .
1992 January 19 - .
1992 January 25 - . 07:50 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz-U2.
1992 February 21 - .
1992 February 21 - . 20:09 GMT - .
1992 February 27 - .
1992 March 17 - . 10:54 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz-U2.
1992 March 25 - .

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