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Soyuz TM-17
Part of Mir Family


Credit: NASA

Mir Expedition EO-14.

AKA: Mir EO-14;Sirius (Sirius);Soyuz TM-17 (Serebrov, Tsibliyev). Launched: 1993-07-01. Returned: 1994-01-14. Number crew: 2 . Duration: 196.74 days.

Carried Vasili Tsibliyev, Alexander Serebrov, Jean-Pierre Haignere to Mir; returned Serebrov, Tsibliyev to Earth. Progress M-18 undocked from Mir's front port at around 17:25 GMT on July 3, and Soyuz TM-17 docked at the same port only 20 minutes later at 17:45 GMT. The EO-14 crew landed at 08:18 GMT on January 14 in the Soyuz TM-17 spaceship.

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

In a unique maneuver on July 3, Progress M-18 undocked from Mir, clearing the port for the docking only minutes later of Soyuz TM-17 with the EO-14 crew of Vasili Tsibliyev and Alexandr Serebrov. The EO-13 crew returned to earth aboard Soyuz TM-16 on July 22. Progress M-18 remained docked to the station in a systems longevity test.

The night of August 12-13, the Perseid meteor shower peaked. The Perseids occur every year at this time, but in 1993 an unusually high peak was predicted. Because of this, the U.S. delayed launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery, which was scheduled to be in orbit at this time. The EO-14 crew continued to work aboard Mir, but Russia took precautions: planes and helicopters stood by for the possible emergency return of Soyuz TM-17. During the shower, the cosmonauts mounted an around-the-clock watch, and observed about 240 meteoroids burning up in the atmosphere beneath Mir. They also noted ten window impacts, which produced craters from 1.5 to 4 mm across. Mir impact sensors noted a particle flux of up to 2000 times the normal mean rate during the Perseid shower. Mir sustained no readily apparent consequential damage from the meteoroids, but the Russians decided to mount EVAs to inspect Mir's exterior nonetheless.

The EO-14 cosmonauts spent 4 hr, 18 min outside Mir assembling the Rapana girder on top of Kvant on September 16. This was a girder assembly experiment with implications for Mir 2 space station development. Tsibliyev and Serebrov spent a further 3 hr, 13 min completing assembly of Rapana on September 20. On September 28 the EO-14 cosmonauts spent 1 hr, 52 min carrying out miscellaneous tasks and inspecting Mir's exterior in the first phase of the Panorama program. They spotted a 5-mm hole through one of the solar arrays. The hole was surrounded by an area of cracks several cm across. The cosmonauts were unable to determine if a Perseid meteoroid was the impactor.

The cosmonauts spent 38 min conducting the Panorama inspection of Mir and performing miscellaneous tasks on October 22. The EO-14 cosmonauts spent 4 hrs on October 29 inspecting Mir as part of the Panorama program and conducting miscellaneous tasks. By the end of Panorama they had inspected the entire skin of Mir. Panorama revealed many small impact sites on Mir, though no hull penetrations. During one of their EVAs, a piece of metal of indeterminate origin drifted past the working cosmonauts.

On November 21, 1993 Progress M-19 docked to the station. On January 10, 1994 Progress M-19 departed and Mir Principal Expedition 15 (Viktor Afanasyev, Yuri Usachyov, Valeri Polyakov) arrived aboard Soyuz TM-18. Tsibliyev and Serebrov boarded Soyuz TM-17 on 14 January for the return home. Soyuz TM-17 struck Mir during the customary inspection fly-around prior to deorbit burn. Tsibliyev and Serebrov were conducting proximity operations with Mir. Among other things, they were photographing a NASA JSC-built docking target they had installed during one of their EVAs. They were unable to arrest Soyuz TM-17's forward movement because of an improperly set switch, and so struck Kristall two glancing blows with its descent module. The blows temporarily disabled Mir's orientation system. Masterful piloting by Tsibliyev prevented Soyuz TM-17 from striking Mir's antennas and solar arrays. After the incident, the EO-14 cosmonauts and ground controllers checked over Soyuz TM-17, while the EO-15 crew on Mir checked over Kristall. They found no damage. Normal Mir operations resumed, and Soyuz TM-17 made a normal re-entry.

More at: Soyuz TM-17.

Family: Manned spaceflight. People: Serebrov, Tsibliyev. Spacecraft: Soyuz TM.
Photo Gallery

Mir EO-14Mir EO-14
Credit: www.spacefacts.de

Mir in Cosmonaut's Visor
Credit: RKK Energia

1993 July 1 - .
  • Mir News 177: Soyuz-TM17 launched from Baykonur - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Soyuz TM-16, Soyuz TM-17, Soyuz TM-17 Altair.

    On 1 July 1993 at 1433 UTC the transport ship Soyuz-TM17 was launched for a flight of 2 days to the Mir Space station. The first crew had been chosen and so Soyuz-TM17 was manned by Tsibliyev, Serebrov and the Frenchman Haignere. The French women cosmonaut Claudie Andre-Deshays will have to wait until 1996 for her flight on board the Mir station to conduct experiments of the French program Cassiopea. 3 Hours after launch Soyuz-TM17 came in our range (orbit 3, 1734 UTC) and strong signals of the 5 transmitters could be monitored (922.755, 165.873, 166.130, 166.140 and 121.750 mc). Tsibliyev reported that all was normal and that health and mood of the crew were excellent. They already had taken off their spacesuits and had just entered the 'life-compartment'. At 1656 UTC they had re-oriented their ship. This crew uses the call 'Ceres', so respectively Ceres-1, Ceres-2 and Ceres-3. So Haignere is 'Ceres-3'. During his return flight on 22 July 1993 he will be a member of Manakov's crew, the Vulkans, and then Haignere will use the call 'Vulkan-3'. During the pass in orbit 4, 1903 UTC, Tsibliyev reported all details about the 2nd orbit correction, which was executed during that pass. All went as scheduled. This had been also the case with the 1st orbit correction. Tsibliyev reported details about this correction as well for during that correction Soyuz-TM17 was out of range of tracking stations. Among the reported data were the times (in seconds) during which the S.K.D. (engines) worked, the gained speed in M/sec, the so called SIRT (fuel consumption in KG) and some pressures in tanks. During the pass in orb. 5 (2036 UTC) again radio traffic loud and clear. During the next pass the cosmonauts slept. At 221345 UTC Soyuz-T17 could be seen passing the TCA as a clear star in elevation 39 degrees. On 2 July 1993 Soyuz-TM17 will be flying autonomously. She will pass at abt. 30 minutes after Mir. Towards midnight Soyuz-TM17 as well as Mir can be observed visually if weather conditions are good. Docking can be expected on 3 July 1993 between 1615 and 1620 UTC, so not long after the first pass of both objects. If the Russians will stick to previous plans the freighter Progress-M17 will undock under observation of the approaching S- TM17. Soyuz-TM17 will dock to the docking port from where Progress-M17 undocked.

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

1993 July 1 - . 14:32 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz-U2.
  • Soyuz TM-17 - . Call Sign: Sirius (Sirius ). Crew: Haignere, Serebrov, Tsibliyev. Backup Crew: Afanasyev, Andre-Deshays, Usachyov. Payload: Soyuz TM s/n 66. Mass: 7,150 kg (15,760 lb). Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Afanasyev, Andre-Deshays, Haignere, Serebrov, Tsibliyev, Usachyov. Agency: MOM. Program: Mir. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Flight: Soyuz TM-16, Soyuz TM-17, Soyuz TM-17 Altair. Spacecraft Bus: Soyuz. Spacecraft: Soyuz TM. Duration: 196.74 days. Decay Date: 1994-02-14 . USAF Sat Cat: 22704 . COSPAR: 1993-043A. Apogee: 397 km (246 mi). Perigee: 388 km (241 mi). Inclination: 51.6000 deg. Period: 92.40 min.

    Mir Expedition EO-14. Carried Vasili Tsibliyev, Alexander Serebrov, Jean-Pierre Haignere to Mir; returned Serebrov, Tsibliyev to Earth. Progress M-18 undocked from Mir's front port at around 17:25 GMT on July 3, and Soyuz TM-17 docked at the same port only 20 minutes later at 17:45 GMT.

1993 July 4 - .
  • Mir News 178: Soyuz-TM17 docked to Mir space station - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Soyuz TM-16, Soyuz TM-17, Soyuz TM-17 Altair.

    This ship with on board the relief crew and the Frenchman Haignere docked to Mir (forward docking port) on 3.07.93 at 1624 UTC. The docking took place in the automatic mode (Kurs-system). Before Soyuz-TM17 began her final approach the freighter Progress-M17 had to undock. So a few minutes before the final approach Progress-M17 undocked and was brought in a safe distance from Mir. This happened before Mir, Soyuz-TM17 and Progress-M17 came in our range. During the pass in orb. 42169, 1607-1612 UTC, radio traffic could be monitored on 121.750 mc and 143.625 mc. Serebrov reported that he would obey the order to go into the landing module immediately. Neither of the crews commented the final approach. There had been a long transmission via Altair, which ended a few minutes before docking. Good images of the complex (by Soyuz-TM17's cameras) and the docking port could be seen. During the pass in orb. 42170, 1742 UTC, it was obvious that all was well: the hatches had been opened and the first meeting between the 2 crews had already taken place. Mir started to transmit to TsUP the video recordings of the approach and the welcome of the new crew. All cosmonauts, also Tsibliyev, Serebrov and Haignere, could be heard via 143.625 mc. During this pass Mir also transmitted on 145.550 mc. Via the digital memory microphone Polishchuk could be heard with a greeting of P. and Manakov to a conference of radio-amateurs in (probably) St. Petersburg. During the next pass (orb. 42171, 1915 UTC, Mir transmitted on 145.550, 143.625 and 144.475 mc. After a CQ-call in Russian and English, Haignere spoke in French with the radio-amateur Francis, FC1OKN.

    Altair: From 4.07 until 22.07.93 Haignere, in co-operation with his Russian colleagues, will conduct experiments in the framework of the French scientific program Altair.

    Spacewalks: If all goes according to previous planning the new crew (the 14th main expedition to the Mir station) will make 3 spacewalks.

    Progress-M17: This freighter still flew autonomously in the night from 3 to 4.07.93 and was visually observed by Mr. Wim Holwerda (Working group artificial satellites) during Mir's pass in orb. 42174, 2227 UTC, at abt. 8 KM behind Mir. Wim also saw the 3d stage of the rocket which gave Soyuz-TM17 the last 'push' on 1.07.93. Progress-M17 carries a return capsule. In a next Mir-report I hope to tell somewhat about the fate of Progress-M17 and that capsule.

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

1993 July 15 - .
  • Mir News 179: MISSION ALTAIR - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Soyuz TM-16, Soyuz TM-17, Soyuz TM-17 Altair.

    This French scientific mission goes according to plan. Haignere stated that all experiments are going well. The only problem is the fact that they have a lot of work to do. On 14.07.93 due to their work a direct TV-report in which a conversation with President Mitterand had to be cancelled or did not take place due to lack of comm. channels. H. is feeling well. No space sickness, no headache or other pains, he sleeps well and has a good appetite. H. praises the good amicable sphere among the crew members, which guarantees a good co-operation. H., call F6Mir, enjoys the possibilities of radio-amateurism: as soon as France is in range he has long conversations with French radio-amateurs. On 11.07.93 in orb. 42293, 1324 UTC, he also got the opportunity to speak with his parents. He had to ask one of the amateurs to leave the frequency (144.475 mc) for he was not able to hear his mother. On this frequency also a lot of P/R traffic. H.'s presence on board Mir caused a remarkable increase of French amateur-calls on Mir's P/R.

    Mir-crew: Manakov is still captain of the Mir-complex and this he shows clearly. During every pass he tightly holds the microphone. Now and then Polishchuk and Serebrov can be heard; Tsybliyev, who has to take over command one of these days, rarely speaks with TsUP.

    Progress-M17: During the experiment 'Rodeo' on 3.07.93 this freighter undocked from the Mir station while Soyuz-TM17 was waiting for the docking port freed by Progress-M17. Progress-M17 undocked at 1553 UTC. Soyuz-TM17 docked to Mir at 1624 UTC. The return-capsule of Progress-M17 landed safely in Kazakhstan at 1802 UTC.

    Soyuz-TM16: With this ship, now still attached to the Kristall- Module, Manakov, Polishchuk and Haignere will return to earth on 22.07.93. The landing is expected at about 0630 UTC.

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

1993 July 16 - .
  • Mir News 180: Movements of Progress-M's and Soyuz-TM's - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Soyuz TM-16, Soyuz TM-17, Soyuz TM-17 Altair.

    Movements of Progress-M's and Soyuz-TM's in the near future:

    Progress-M18: Will undock from Mir and decay in the atmosphere on 24.07.93 (so 2 days after the departure of Soyuz-TM16).

    Progress-M19: Launch from Baykonur on 27.07.93.

    Progress-M20: Launch from Baykonur on 12.10.93.

    Soyuz-TM18 : Launch from Baykonur with crew Afanasyev and Usachov on 16.11.93.

    Progress-M21: Launch from Baykonur on 30.11.93.

    In May 1994 there will be a flight of a Soyuz-TM to Mir with on board Malenchenko and Strekalov. (Strekalov replaced Kaleri, because he has more experience than Kaleri.) The 3d crew member will be a physician for a long duration flight of one and a half year. For this flight 3 physicians are selected, one of them will fly, namely Polyakov, Arzamazov and Morukov.

    The Russians have the intention to launch Module Spektr on 20.12.93 for a flight to Mir. This long expected extension will be welcomed by the crew of the 15th Main expedition to Mir: Afanasyev and Usachov.

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

1993 July 22 - .
  • Mir News 181: Soyuz-TM16 - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Soyuz TM-16, Soyuz TM-17, Soyuz TM-17 Altair.


    Soyuz-TM16 landed safely in near the city Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan. The ballistic section of Professor Ivanov again deserves admiration for their excellent work: the landing took place 23 seconds later than calculated. During this flight the crews of Mir and Soyuz-TM16 as well had to do somewhat extra in this field for at the moment of undocking the objects were out of range of NIP (measurement points on earth). So they had to take care for the actual attitudes during undocking and thereafter. Data for this operation they got during radio traffic with TsUP on 21.07.93. Just after the separation of the Life compartment (BO) and the Motor block from the Landing module (SA) the SA entered the dense layers of the atmosphere at 061817 UTC surrounded by the fire of the plasma. At a distance of appr. 400 KM the crew on board Mir was able to observe this through porthole nr. 9. At 062655 UTC the main parachute opened and the landing took place at 064200 UTC. So the crew of the 13th Main expedition to Mir, Manakov and Polishchuk, and the French 'spacionaute' Haignere accomplished their flights. H. was able to execute the French scientific program Altair. The last days of his flight he felt tired due to the huge amount of work, which was necessary to get a maximum profit of such an expensive flight. H. was very satisfied about his work on board but also about his activities as a radio- amateur and he was very grateful to make a lot good QSO-s with French and other amateurs.

    Mir: On board Mir are now the cosmonauts Tsybliyev and Serebrov. Their official calls are not 'Ceres' as has been published earlier, but respectively Sirius-1 and 2. Their calls for radio- amateur activities are resp. R3Mir and R4Mir. Ts. en S. will work in open space 3 times in September this year to accomplish the transfer of the solar batteries from the Kristall-module to Kvant-1.

    In a next Mir-report I hope to give attention to the last days of the presence of 5 cosmonauts on board Mir.

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

1993 July 22 - .
1993 July 26 - .
  • Mir News 182: Ham-work during successfully accomplished Altair mission - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Soyuz TM-17.

    Jean-Pierre, F6Mir, was an enthusiastic and skilled amateur. In this field he did not yield to Tognini during his flight in 1992. H. made all his QSO-s in the proper way and during the last day of his flight he told in a CQ-message that he had been pleased by radio-amateurism and he expressed his gratitude to all amateurs with whom he had been in contact. He was not pleased about an Italian amateur, who, using a very strong signal, often blocked the uplink too long. He limited H's possibilities to make more QSO-s with French and other amateurs.

    Mir-crews: On 16.7.93 the control over the Mir-station had been transferred to the new crew: Tsibliyev took care of the attitude control and Serebrov had replaced Polishchuk as board-engineer. Manakov and Polishchuk prepared their return flight. Their main concern was to find room in Soyuz-TM16 for all what they had to bring back to earth. Thoroughly they checked the on board systems of that ship and rehearsed the procedures for the navigation during and after the undocking from Mir on 22.07.93. A physician at TsUP regularly checked the health of M. and P.

    New crew: As of 22.07.93 Tsibliyev and Serebrov are working strenuously. They are busy with a lot of important repairs and replacements. Obviously they have to solve all problems with the attitude(movements-) control of the complex. (Gyrodynes and the VDU motor in the Sofora-girder). They already work on the Gyrodynes. It is a pleasure to hear the new crew: undoubtedly excellent cosmonauts. Quite normal for S.: this is his 4th flight, but the novice T. acts as if he has a long experience in space.

    Progress-M18 and M19: Recently the decay of the first freighter (M18) still was on schedule for 24.07.93. This has been put back. Though still not for 100% sure the plan is to undock Progress-M18 on 8.08.93 after the launch that same day of Progress-M19. If this happens it will be a novelty: for a while 2 freighters flying autonomously in space.

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

1993 August 6 - .
  • Mir News 183: Exchange of freighters - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Soyuz TM-17.

    Progress-M19: The launch date of this freighter for the Mir station has been put back for the 2d time. Now this launch from Baykonur is planned for 10.08.93 at 2216 UTC (for the Russians already on 11.08.93 at 0116 TsUP time). If all goes according to the plan Progress-M19 will dock to Mir at abt. 0000 UTC on 13.08.93. So a few minutes after the first pass of the Mir complex on (for us still) 12.08.93 2350-2356 UTC, pass in orbit 42799. Progress-M19 will dock to the forward port (transition section P.Kh.O.). This port is still occupied by the Progress-M18.

    Progress-M18: This ship will separate from Mir and decay in the atmosphere if the launch of Progress-M19 is successful.

    Radio-amateur traffic new crew: The new crew has not been heard with amateur traffic (packet radio or phone) on the known amateur frequencies during passes within our range. The crew asked TsUP for a computer program to clean the overloaded memory of their computer, which contains a lot of correspondence and documents of the previous crew. So possibly they will resume packet-radio after the deletion of all superfluous files. During a packet QSO with TsUP on 143.625 mc Mir used the call R0Mir.

    Spacewalks (EVA-s): The 3 EVA-s planned for September 1993 have been cancelled. The present crew (14th Main expedition) will not carry out any EVA-s.

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

1993 August 10 - . 22:23 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz-U-PVB.
  • Progress M-19 - . Payload: Progress M s/n 219. Mass: 7,250 kg (15,980 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: MOM. Program: Mir. Class: Manned. Type: Manned logistics spacecraft. Flight: Soyuz TM-17. Spacecraft Bus: Soyuz. Spacecraft: Progress M. Duration: 69.08 days. Completed Operations Date: 1993-10-20 00:17:41 . Decay Date: 1993-10-20 00:17:41 . USAF Sat Cat: 22745 . COSPAR: 1993-052A. Apogee: 223 km (138 mi). Perigee: 179 km (111 mi). Inclination: 51.8000 deg. Period: 88.50 min. Unmanned resupply vessel to Mir. Docked with Mir at the Kvant rear port on 13 Aug 1993 00:00:06 GMT. Undocked on 13 Oct 1993 17:59:06 GMT. Destroyed in reentry on 19 Oct 1993 00:22:14 GMT. Total free-flight time 7.33 days. Total docked time 61.75 days..

1993 August 11 - .
  • Mir News 184: Progress-M19 - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Soyuz TM-17.

    This freighter has been launched from Baykonur on 10.08.93 at 2223 UTC (for Moscow and TsUP-time already 11.08.93) for a 2-days flight to the Mir-station. Perhaps there has been a slight delay for I expected the launch at 2216 UTC. Somewhat later than expected I monitored the transmissions of Progress-M19 on 922.755 mc and in the 166 and 165 mc bands between 0256 and 0301 UTC. To enable Progress-M19 to dock to the forward docking port of Mir (transition section P.Kh.O.) the old Progress-M still docked to that port has to disappear soon. This undocking is scheduled for 11.08.93 at 1534 UTC.

    Perseid-meteorites: These meteorites coming from the comet Swift- Tuttle are visible (clouds permitting) around 12 august every year. Thus far clouds did not permit this for us this year, but the Mir-cosmonauts, not hindered by clouds or fog, were able to see the meteorites. Tsibliyev, the captain of the Mir-station, reported during the pass in orbit 42770, 11.08.93, 0452-0503 UTC, that they saw a little bit of it. He added that he had to report some 'battle wounds'. He told TsUP that the station had been hit by 4 particles obviously coming from that meteorite-rain. They caused minor damages to 2 solar batteries (on the base block and on Kristall - Module-T) and to one of the portholes. The window of that porthole showed a cavern with a diameter of 2 a 3 mm. T. nor TsUP did not show any concern. To be realistic: thus far we have to do with minor particles, but bigger particles can cause serious damages to space-ships and stations, even leakage and consequently decompression. In my opinion the recent experience of the Mir-crew fully justifies NASA's decision to put back the launch of Space shuttle Discovery until 12.08.93 due to concern for that meteorite-storm.

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

1993 August 13 - .
  • Mir News 185: Progress-M19 docked to Mir-space station - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Soyuz TM-17.

    This freighter with food, water, fuel, post, spare parts, etc. docked to the forward docking port transition section -P.Kh.O.) on 13 Aug. 1993 at 0000 UTC. So 4 minutes after LOS for our position. The approach in orb. 42799, 12 Aug. 2351-2356 UTC, the cosmonauts visually observed the Progress-M19. At 2356 UTC Progress-M19 was on a distance of 25 M and the appr. speed was 0.85M/sec. The operation passed off smoothly and already during the pass in the next orb. (42800, 0129-0133 UTC) Tsibliyev reported the hermetic air-seal and the opening of the hatch to Progress-M19. In the pass during orb. 42801, 0304-0309 UTC, the cosmonauts expressed their gratitude for all what Progress-M19 delivered, but in Serebrov's opinion the Progress-M19 was 'too empty'. He said that only 66% of the cargo-volume had been utilised. Nevertheless he was satisfied about the post, the new paper (or: ribbon) for the RTTY printer and the renewed instructions for evacuation in case of emergency.

    Perseid-meteorites: So the crew just had to work during 3 night shifts: 2 due to the meteorite-storm and 1 for the Progress-M19. In the night from 11 to 12 Aug. they enjoyed the sight of the meteorite-rain. They spoke about 'fireballs' and stopped counting them for it really was a rain. The night before they also observed this phenomenon, which was less spectacular then. Unfortunately they again had to report collisions with small particles and damages. S. and T. expressed their relief that all was over now and that they survived the meteorite-bombardments.

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

1993 September 14 - .
  • Mir News 186: SPACE-WALKS (EVA-S) - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Soyuz TM-17.

    Some weeks ago TsUP announced that the 3 EVA-s, which had been planned for Sept. this year had been put back and that this crew (the 14th main expedition to Mir) would not make any EVA-s at all. Later on there happened to be a plan to execute an EVA on 10.09.93. This EVA has been put back also. Meanwhile it was obvious that 1 or more EVA-s are badly needed for the inspection of the outer surface of the whole complex. Experts even considered the use of the SPK (MMU) for EVA-s. Board- engineer Serebrov knows how to fly with the SPK: he was the first cosmonaut to fly with it on 1.02.90. Radio traffic during recent passes revealed that the crew is preparing an EVA. Whether they will use the SPK or not is not clear.


    After a long period of silence the Russians officially admitted that the station suffered from hits caused by minuscule particles during the Perseid-meteorite stream. One hit even caused a hole in a solar battery with the diameter of appr. 6 cm. Meanwhile messages and questions about the damages reached the Mir crew by amateur radio. Experts are evaluating the eventual influence of the damages on the power supply of the complex. The crew cannot see the whole outer surface of the station from inside and so EVA-s must be carried out to inspect it thoroughly.


    For some weeks again a lot of Packet radio tfc on 145.550 mc. Sometimes there are also calls by 'phone' on that frequency. On 12 and 13.09.93 the crew used 145.500 mc to contact the Irish amateur EI3SI by speech.

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

1993 September 16 - . 05:57 GMT - .
1993 September 17 - .
  • Mir News 187: First spacewalk (EVA) cosmonauts Mir - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Soyuz TM-17.

    Tsibliyev and Serebrov executed their first EVA on 16.09.93. At 0435 UTC they crawled in their spacesuits and at 0604 UTC they opened the exit hatch. After an EVA of appr. 4 hrs 16 mins they closed that hatch behind them. And again this time a change in previous plans: so not as expected, the inspection of the outer surface of the complex or the transfer of the solar batteries from the Kristall-module to the Kvant-1. This time they prepared the installation at the base of the Sofora-mast of a truss structure, called Rapana. The Rapana uses the design for the construction of support arms, which will be used for Mir-2 or for Mir-2's integration in the international station Freedom. The Rapana has a length of several meters and a cylindrical shape. For the installation of this Rapana 3 EVA's are needed, the 2d one will be executed on 20.09.93. It is still unknown when there will be an EVA for the inspection of the outer surface of the complex or whether that inspection will be done during the 2d or 3d EVA. After the installation the Rapana will serve as a platform for experimental materials to be exposed to the influence of open space.

    Another EVA on 16.09.93:

    The astronauts of the space shuttle Discovery also executed an EVA this day. About this EVA the Western media brought news and images, which they did not about the Russian EVA. And that is why I did!

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

1993 September 20 - .
  • Mir News 188: 2d Spacewalk (EVA) Mir-Crew - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Soyuz TM-17.

    Tsibliyev and Serebrov concluded the installation of the Rapan pillar during a relatively short EVA on 20.09.93 between 0352 and 0705 UTC, so 3 hrs and 13 mins. The Rapan is standing perpendicularly on the Kvant-1 module near the Sofora mast. The Sofora is standing under an angle of 79 degrees and inclines towards the forward side of the complex. The crew installed materials, samples and equipment on the Rapan for an exposure to open space during half a year. After this period the samples etc. have to be returned to earth for analyses.

    Eventual 3d EVA:

    After evaluation of today's EVA and an analysis of the TV-images made by the cosmonauts, experts will decide whether there will be needed a 3d EVA. The Russians did speak nor about the inspection of Mir's outer surface and the solar batteries neither about the transfer of solar batteries. If a 3d EVA will be made, this might be on 24.09.93.

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

1993 September 20 - . 03:51 GMT - .
1993 September 22 - .
  • Mir News 189: 3d Spacewalk (EVA) put back - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Soyuz TM-17.

    Until 22.09.93 the cosmonauts made preparations for an EVA on 24.09.93. During that EVA they had to execute the program 'Panorama', which is an inspection of the outer surface of the station by camera's. On 22.09.93 TsUP announced that the EVA had been put back to 28.09.93. A reason for the delay has not been stated. Possibly the unstable political situation in Moscow has something to do with it, but technical reasons are also possible. On 22.09.93 the crew worked on a problem with a pressure-valve (KVD) of the airlock (Sh.S.O.) in Module-D.

    Mir-station hit by a particle from outer space:

    On 21.09.93 at abt. 1205 UTC, while the station was near the equator, Tsibliyev heard the clap of a particle colliding with Mir's outer surface. The impact caused a little cloud of dust and released some pieces of paint of the wall. Tsibliyev heard the impact while he was flying from Kvant-1 to the Base Block. Serebrov, who was working in Module-D, did not hear it.

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

1993 September 28 - .
  • Mir News 190: 3d Spacewalk (EVA) Mir crew - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Soyuz TM-17.

    The crew of the 14th Main Expedition Mir made their 3d EVA on 28.09.93. Planned had been a long EVA (4 or 5 hrs). The crew opened the hatch of Module-D's airlock at 0057 UTC. They had to return after 1 hr 51 mins due to a malfunction in the thermoregulation of commander Tsiblieyev's spacesuit. So they closed the hatch behind them at 0248 UTC. TsUP considered to continue the EVA by Serebrov alone, but 'safety first' prevailed and both cosmonauts concluded the operation at 0248 UTC. So they could not execute the whole plan for this EVA. Main task was the experiment Panorama, an inspection of the outside elements of the station by photo- and video camera. They partly fulfilled this task. The second task was the collection of the American experiment TREK. Serebrov removed the unit in which samples and materials had been exposed to open space for a long time and brought this back on board. In the near future this experiment will be brought back to earth for analyses by the American scientists. Communications during this EVA took place via Altair and after the EVA at 0439 UTC Mir and TsUP communicated again via VHF. The cosmonauts felt well and during the passes in the orbits 43521 until 43523 they already spoke about other matters. There might be a 4th EVA, but this has not been decided so far.

    Reason delay transfer solar batteries from Kristal to Kvant-1:

    Several times this work has been put back. Reason for this delay at the moment is the fact that the launches of the modules Spektr and Priroda to Mir have been delayed due to financing problems. The Russians hope to get support from the west, where a lot of scientists are convinced of the scientific value of those modules.

    Progress-M20: The launch of this freighter is still on schedule for 12.10.93. The crew is already involved in the loading of Progress-M19 with goods they have to get rid off and cargo for the Ballistic Return Capsule (VBK).

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

1993 September 28 - . 00:57 GMT - .
  • EVA Mir EO-14-3 - . Crew: Serebrov, Tsibliyev. EVA Duration: 0.0778 days. Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Serebrov, Tsibliyev. Program: Mir. Class: Manned. Type: Manned space station. Flight: Soyuz TM-17. Spacecraft: Mir. Installed material samples and retrieved experiment packages. Documented external condition of Mir..

1993 October 8 - .
  • Mir News 191: Progress-M17 - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Soyuz TM-17.

    This freighter undocked from Mir after the launch of Progress-M19 on 10.08.93. (So this happened not to be the Progress-M18. Progress-M18 disappeared earlier, i.e. just after the Rodeo- experiment. (Undocking of Progress-M18 under observation of the approaching Soyuz-TM17 which had to dock to the docking- port freed by Progress-M18). While Progress-M19 was flying to Mir Progress-M17 undocked and remained in space. The autonomous flight of this freighter will have a duration of 1 or 1.5 year. This on request of the Americans, who plan to use modified Soyuz-M-ships as ACVR-s (assured crew rescue vehicle) for their space stations. They wish to know the maximum lifetime of a Soyuz-TM. Most of the systems of both vehicles are equal and so Progress-M17 is now playing the role as a test-vehicle. Progress-M17 is flying a dozen kilometres lower than Mir.


    The still attached to Mir Progress-M19 corrected the orbit of the complex. Mir was lifted from ap/per 390.7/384.8 KM to ap/per 397.4/389.2 KM. So Keplers older than day 278 are invalid. The crew still has to spend a lot of time to keep the life systems of the complex operational, especially the water regeneration systems cause a lot of trouble. On 7 Oct. 1993 during their first contact with TsUP (in orb. 43660, 0535-0546 UTC) they heard that the launch of the Soyuz-TM18 with the relief crew had been put back until the 2d half of December 1993 (instead of 24.11.93), which means a prolongation of their flight. The delay is caused by a complex of reasons, one of them has something to do with the carrier-rocket for Soyuz-TM18's launch. Serebrov stated that he and Tsibliyev understand this decision and that they, though reluctantly, agreed to remain longer in space. They asked TsUP to inform Yuriy Semyonov (Head of NPO Energiya) about their consent.

    PROGRESS-M19: The crew is preparing this freighter for her imminent departure. Main task is the loading and servicing of the VBK (ballistic return capsule) of Progress-M19. Progress-M19 will undock from Mir after the eventual successful launch of the freighter Progress-M20.

    PROGRESS-M20: Launch still on schedule for 11.10.93, 2133 UTC (so for TsUP already on 12.10.93, 0033 Msc Winter Time) from Baykonur. Rendezvous and docking with Mir in the late evening of 13.10.93 ( UTC).

    4th Spacewalk (EVA): This EVA will be carried out after the arrival of Progress-M20. The most convenient day for this EVA will probably be 28.10.93. Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202

1993 October 11 - . 21:33 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz-U-PVB.
  • Progress M-20 - . Payload: Progress M s/n 220. Mass: 7,250 kg (15,980 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: MOM. Program: Mir. Class: Manned. Type: Manned logistics spacecraft. Flight: Soyuz TM-17. Spacecraft Bus: Soyuz. Spacecraft: Progress M. Duration: 40.48 days. Decay Date: 1993-11-21 . USAF Sat Cat: 22867 . COSPAR: 1993-064A. Apogee: 226 km (140 mi). Perigee: 187 km (116 mi). Inclination: 51.8000 deg. Period: 88.60 min.

    Unmanned resupply vessel to Mir, carried a Raduga reentry capsule for return of experimental materials to earth. Docked with Mir on 13 Oct 1993 23:24:46 GMT. Undocked on 21 Nov 1993 02:38:43 GMT. Capsule landed in Kazakhstan on 21 Nov 1993 09:06:00 GMT. Total free-flight time 2.35 days. Total docked time 38.13 days.

1993 October 12 - .
  • Mir News 192: Progress-M20 - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Soyuz TM-17.

    The launch of this freighter took place on 11.10.93 at 2133 UTC (for the Russians, using 'decree-time', already 12.10.93 0033 hrs). Progress-M20 reached the right initial orbit and the first corrections have been executed successfully. Progress-M20's transmissions in the 166, 165 and 922 bands could be monitored in the pass in the 2d orbit on 12.10.93 between 0035 and 0037 UTC. Progress-M20 has to deliver to the Mir-station spare parts, food, water, fuel and post. It contains also a package of experiments in the framework of Biokrist. These are protein-crystallisation experiments from several countries. One experiment is of Dr. Grip of the Faculty for Eye Surgery, University of Nijmegen (the Netherlands). A Biokrist container, including the same Dutch experiment, has been on board of the Mir-complex in the first 3 months of 1992. During the transport, after the skilful delivery on earth by the cosmonauts Volkov and Krikalyov, something went wrong due to extreme low temperatures and the results suffered damages. The present experiment will return to earth by the crew of this expedition in December 1993. In 2 days Progress-M20 will fly to Mir and if all goes well the freighter will dock to Mir on 13.10.93 at abt. 2316 UTC (so for the Russians already on 14.10.93, 0216 Msc decree-time).

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

1993 October 14 - .
  • Mir News 193: Progress-M20 DOCKED TO Mir - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Soyuz TM-17.

    This freighter docked to Mir's aft docking port (Kvant-1) on 13.10.93 at 2325 UTC. The approach and docking took place in the automatic mode under observation of the crew. The docking took place a little bit later than expected after Mir's pass in orbit 43764 from 2309-2314 UTC. During this pass the transmitters of Progress-M20 still could be monitored on 922.755 mc and in the 166 and 165 mc bands. Mir also worked with packet radio on 145.550 mc. During the passes in orb. 43765 (14.01 0043-0050 UTC) and 43766 (0221-0227 UTC) the crew and TsUP spoke about the just arrived freighter. The crew was satisfied: the ship was clean and they got the badly needed dairy-products, which they ordered only recently. Progress-M20 has a V.B.K. (ballistic return capsule) on board. The arrival of the Progress-M20 is good news for the Dutch University in Nijmegen for she safely delivered their experiments in the Biokrist-package.


    To enable Progress-M20 to dock with the complex the Progress-M19 had to disappear. Nowadays the Russians undock the old freighter as soon as they are sure about the right orbit and the good functioning of the new one. So Progress-M19 separated from Mir on 12.10.1993 at 1759 UTC. Before burning up in the atmosphere Progress-M19 jettisoned the V.B.K. and this landed safely in the designated area on 13.10.93 at 0022 UTC. The crew on board Mir did not go asleep but observed the whole operation. The were enthusiastic about this interesting event. They saw how the engines of Pr-19 worked, how the V.B.K. separated from Progress-M19 and they even could see the burning up of the rest of the freighter. They made a lot of video-films and images. During the pass in 43751, on 13.10.93 at 0135 UTC they reported about these observations to TsUP. In the course of 13.10 they transmitted their films to TsUP via the geostationary satellite Altair.

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

1993 October 21 - .
  • Mir News 194: 4th Spacewalk (EVA) - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Soyuz TM-17.

    This EVA has been put forward and will take place on 22.10.93. The crew will open the hatch at 1630 UTC and the EVA has to last 3 or 4 hours. During this EVA the crew will conclude the experiment Panorama. This is an inspection with camera's of the outer surface of the complex. Special attention will be given to the damages caused by particles from outer space during the Perseid meteorites storm around 12.08.93 and that of the collision with something from outer space on 21.09.93. Serebrov will execute this survey from a position in the top of the Strela crane (or: girder). The crane will be steered by Tsibliyev.


    This freighter will undock from the complex on 21.11.93. After jettisoning the V.B.K. (return capsule) Progress-M20 will burn up in the atmosphere. The undocking and decay of Progress-M20 has been put forward due to one of the American (Boeing) experiments. To keep this experiment in space until the return of Soyuz-TM17 to the 2d decade of January 1994 was undesirable.

    Reason for the delay of the launch of Soyuz-TM18:

    This delay has been caused by the bad economical situation. Simply: there was no funding available for a launch in November 1993. Soyuz-TM18 will start on 4.01.94 with the relief crew (15th main expedition to Mir) on board. One of the crew of 3 persons will be a doctor (Polyakov or Arzamazov), who will remain on board Mir for 1.5 year. The present crew (14th main expedition) will return to earth with Soyuz-TM17 on 12.01.94, so their flight will last well over 1.5 months longer than foreseen in the original planning. Though reluctantly Tsibliyev and Serebrov agreed to this delay.

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

1993 October 22 - . 15:47 GMT - .
1993 October 23 - .
  • Mir News 195: 4th Spacewalk (EVA) Mir-crew on 22.10.93 - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Soyuz TM-17.

    This EVA started earlier than was expected. The hatch swung open at abt. 1535 UTC. During the first half hour of this EVA the cosmonauts spoke with the Russian premier-minister Chernomyrdin who visited TsUP. Regretfully this EVA ended earlier than planned due to a malfunction of a life system Serebrov's spacesuit. The EVA took place between (plus/min) 1535-1615 UTC and had a duration of only 38 minutes. The crew succeeded in installing on the outer surface of the complex a device for measurements of the micro-meteorite flux and the salvaging of materials which had been exposed to the influence of outer space. Serebrov made some images in the framework of the Panorama experiment, but for the conclusion of that experiment another EVA will be necessary. Our good friend OM Peter observed via Altair that the cosmonauts had left the airlock. After a while the transmission of images switched over to the system Orbita and only the speech could be monitored. Soon we derived from this traffic that the cosmonauts were in the airlock, that they had closed the exit hatch and were equalising the pressures between the airlock (S.Sh.O.) and the instrument- and scientific compartment (P.N.O.). For that purpose they had opened the valve K.V.D. and via the downlink the sound of streaming air could be heard. During the first pass within VHF-range (in orbit 43902, 1932- 1937 UTC) the cosmonauts reported that all was well. The possible date of the 5th EVA also was mentioned. This might be 29.10.93 depending on further analyses of the emerged problems.

    Information: The English service of Radio Moscow slightly paid attention to this EVA, but did not speak about the cause of the premature return on board of the crew. For the first time in the history of spaceflight Radio Moscow spoke about the Russian crew as 'astronauts' instead of 'cosmonauts'.

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

1993 October 29 - . 13:38 GMT - .
1993 October 30 - .
  • Mir News 196: 5th Spacewalk (EVA) Mir-crew on 29.10.93 - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Soyuz TM-17.

    The crew opened the hatch at 1338 UTC and closed this behind them at 1750 UTC, so the duration of this EVA was 4 hrs and 12 mins. They fully accomplished their tasks: the experiment Panorama, during which Sererbrov made video-images of the outer surface of the station, they removed samples of materials which had been exposed to open space and placed new samples and on instructions from experts on earth they carried out an inspection of objects on the outside, for instance the solar panels. They also carried out prophylactic work. Most of the radio-communications was relayed by the satellite Altair. During the first 2 passes for our position the EVA was still going on and the radio-traffic could be heard on VHF as well as on Altair. During the pass in orbit 44010, 1742-1752 UTC, the cosmonauts returned to the airlock and they told TsUP that they were ready to close the hatch on TsUP's command. So they did at 1750 UTC and they immediately started with the equalisation of the pressures between the airlock (S.Sh.O.) and the Instrument-Scientific compartment (P.N.O.). OM Peter monitored phone as well as TV-images and in co-ordination with him I was able to determine that all went well during this EVA. During the first communication session via Altair after the EVA the cosmonauts transmitted images made during the EVA to TsUP. So OM Peter could see how the crew during their EVA jettisoned an old (probably no longer usable)EVA or spacesuit. They succeeded in sending away this dummy in such a shape that it looked like someone who saluted like a soldier. After analyses of the monitored radio-traffic I hope to tell something about the crew's assessment of the damage, which had been caused by micro-meteorites around 12.08.93.

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

1993 November 16 - .
  • Mir News 197: Progress-M20 - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Soyuz TM-17.

    For some time the Mir-crew is preparing the freighter Progress- M20 for its last autonomous flight. They store all what they want to throw away in the Progress-M20 herself and all experiments, films etc. in the return capsule (VBK). The Progress-M20 has to undock from Mir on 21.11.93 at abt. 0900 UTC for decay in the atmosphere. Before burning up the Progress-M20 will jettison the VBK for a safe landing in the Orenburg region, so on Russian territory. A landing in Kazakhstan means that the Russians must pay import duties to Kazakhstan!

    Orbit correction: One of these days the Progress-M20 will have to correct the orbit of the complex. After this correction old Keplers will no longer be valid.

    Mir-crew: The cosmonauts reported that the outside surface of the Mir-station is in a good shape. The damages caused by micro- meteorites are not that bad as previously expected. More concern they expressed about the inside systems of the station. The guaranteed lifetime is running to its end and they have to do a lot of strenuous maintenance work on the life systems. Nowadays they have problems with the provision of oxygen.

    Contact between Mir and Shuttle Columbia on 26.10.93:

    It was a great surprise for the Mir-crew to get a call in Russian from the Columbia on a radio-amateur channel.

    Renovation work in my shack:

    Due to renovation work in my shack it might be difficult to maintain my operational possibilities for a while. So there might be a period in which I will be unable to make Mir- reports. Please don't worry: when this misery is over I will be back again!

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

1993 November 21 - .
  • Mir News 198: Progress-M20 - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Soyuz TM-17.

    Orbit correction: On 17.11.93 during orbit 44300 the engines of Progress-M20 corrected the orbit of the Mir-complex: Ap/per now 395.3/388.2 KM.

    Decay of Progress-M20 and safe landing return capsule on 21.11.93:

    Undocking of Progress-M20 from Mir at 0236 UTC. Progress-M20 jettisoned the VBK (return capsule) at 0850 UTC. Progress-M20 entered dense layers of the atmosphere at 0851 UTC and decayed. The VBK safely landed not far from Orsk at 0903 UTC. Orsk is a town just north of the border with Kazakhstan. The VBK itself landed just inside Kazakhstans territory. So possibly Russia will have to pay Kazakhstan import duties for the VBK and the cargo.

    VBK's cargo:

    The cargo mainly consisted of 2 American containers with experiments: The first one is the experiment TREK, which had been installed outside Mir from 4.04.91. This experiment registered particles of super-heavy elements in the cosmic radiation. The 2d American experiment was the grow of biological crystals delivered by the firm Boeing. The VBK brought back to earth some Russian experiments: 2 videocassettes with images made during the survey experiment Panorama, an experiment with Ultraviolet in the earth's atmosphere, a sample of thermo-insulation material exposed to open space and a lot of negative-films.

    Progress-M21: It is still unknown when this freighter will be launched for a flight to Mir. This freighter is badly needed, especially for a supply of fresh oxygen. The last days the crew is complaining about problems with the air pressure and oxygen, which cause respiration problems (dry nostrils and throat).

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

1993 December 10 - .
  • Mir News 199: Progress-M21 - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Soyuz TM-17.

    For a long time we expected the launch of the freighter towards the end of November 1993. Due to economic and other problems this launch has been put back. The launch is now on schedule for 26.01.1994, so long after the relief of the present crew.


    This ship will be launched for a flight to the Mir-station on 6.01.1994. If all goes according to the original planning the relief crew will consist of 3 cosmonauts. One of them is a doctor (Polyakov or Arazamov) who must remain in space for 1.5 year. Whether the crew will consist of 2 or 3 cosmonauts is not sure for 100%.


    In this period Mir's passes are in the night hours. The crew is still busy in keeping the station operational. They have to pay a lot of attention to the life-support systems: air pressure- and air composition and the water regeneration systems Elektron and S.R.V.-U.

    Visit of the American vice-president to TsUP:

    The Russians very badly need financial support from the United States for the upgrading of the partly worn-out Mir-station. So they are very pleased that vice-president Gore will visit Kaliningrad near Moscow around 14.12.93. He will also visit the flight control centre TsUP.

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

1994 January 6 - .
  • Mir News 201: Soyuz-TM18 - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Soyuz TM-17, Soyuz TM-18, Soyuz TM-18 Mir LD-4.

    The launch of this ship with the relief crew of 3 will take place from Baykonur on 8.01.94 at 1005 UTC. If all goes according to schedule Soyuz-TM18 will dock to Mir on 10.01.94 at abt. 1148 UTC.


    The present Mir-crew (Tsibliyev and Serebrov) is already involved in activities related to their oncoming relief and their return to earth on 14.01.94. On 5.01.94 they remained on board of this ship for a long time to check systems and to look for areas in which they can stow things, which have to be returned to earth.


    This freighter is still flying autonomously after the separation from Mir on 11.08.93. The Russians left Progress-M17 in space to check the lifetime of the systems due to the future use by the Americans of a Soyuz-TM modification as ACVR (rescue boat) for their space station. During a manoeuvre before Christmas the station came in a lower perigee (235 KM) due to a failure in the attitude control system. TsUP lost control over the freighter and they plan to have her decayed in the end of February this year. Probably this will happen spontaneously: the present orbital elements will lead to a decay at abt 28.03.94 (+ or - 3 days).

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

1994 January 8 - . 10:05 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz-U2.
1994 January 9 - .
  • Mir News 202: Soyuz-TM18 blasted off for flight to Mir - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Soyuz TM-17, Soyuz TM-18, Soyuz TM-18 Mir LD-4.

    Soyuz-TM18 has been launched from Baykonur on 8.01.94 at 1005 UTC. All went well and at 1014 UTC Soyuz-TM18 had reached the right orbit. For the flight the 1st crew had been selected, so: Captain V. Afanasyev, who makes his 2d flight, board engineer (rookie) Yu. Usachev (pronunciation Usachov ) and the physician Dr. V. Polaykov, making his 2d flight. He will try to remain 427 days in space. The call of the crew is Derbent, so resp. Derbent-1, 2 and 3. For radio-amateur traffic resp. U9Mir, R3Mir and U3Mir. Soyuz-TM18 came in range during orbit 3, 1307 UTC. Strong transmissions on the known frequencies (121.750, 165.874 and 922.755 mc). Afanasyev reported that all went well and he added some pressure values. After abt. 30 mins Mir (orb. 45114) could be heard here. TsUP told the Mir-crew that all on board Soyuz-TM18 was normal. In the pass in the 4th orbit (1436 UTC) Afanasyev reported that the Soyuz-TM18 executed 2 orbit corrections without significant problems. During the pass in the 5th orbit (1609- UTC) Afanasyev reported the successful performance of Soyuz-TM18 during the 3d orbit correction. Afanasyev got the order to adjust the Globus position indicator and Dr. Polyakov stated that the condition of the crew was excellent. On 10.01.94 at 1150 UTC Soyuz-TM18 has to dock to the Mir-complex. This will be abt 4 mins. after LOS of the space objects in Mir's orbit nr. 45144.

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

1994 January 11 - .
  • Mir News 203: Soyuz-TM18 docked with the Mir-space station. - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Soyuz TM-17, Soyuz TM-18, Soyuz TM-18 Mir LD-4.

    On 10.01.94 at 1050 UTC Soyuz-TM18 docked to the Mir-station. Approach and docking took place in the automatic mode by the use of the system Kurs. During Mir's pass in orbit 45144 (1138-1147 UTC) the approach was going on. Afanasyev watched the behaviour of Soyuz-TM18 on his monitor. He had to be alert to take over manually, but this was not necessary. Soyuz-TM18 approached and docked smoothly. During the approach the transmitter of Mir and of the Soyuz-TM18 as well could be heard. During the pass in the next orbit (45145, 1315-1323 UTC) the hatch was opened and the enthusiastic welcome and greetings of both crews could be monitored. The following pass (orb. 45146, 1448-1459 UTC) Serebrov spoke a word of welcome and reported that mood and health of the newcomers were excellent. For Dr. Polyakov reason to gather blood samples from the cosmonauts to be able to confirm this scientifically.

    The 5 men will work together during the next 3 days and the old crew (Mir Main expedition nr. 14) will then hand over the station to the 15th Main expedition.

    On 14.01.1994 Tsibliyev and Serebrov will return to earth in the Soyuz-TM17.

    The 15th Main Expedition will last until 6.07.1994, so 177 days. Then Afanasyev and Usachev will be relieved by Malenchenko, Musabayev and Strekalov. Strekalov will return with the relieved crew. Dr. Polyakov will remain on board until spring 1995 (427 days) to conduct medical experiments aimed at the long-lasting flights to Mars.

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

1994 January 14 - .
1994 January 15 - .
  • Mir News 204: Soyuz-TM17 returned to earth - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Soyuz TM-17, Soyuz TM-18, Soyuz TM-18 Mir LD-4.

    On 14.01.1994 at 0819 UTC (08 hrs 18 mins 20 secs) the return capsule of the Soyuz-TM18 landed at 215 KM West of Karaganda in Kazakhstan. The cosmonauts (Tsibliyev and Serebrov) felt well after their flight of 197 days. They will be flown to Starcity near Moscow this afternoon. Again a routine-message about a routine-operation, but yet 'it has been a near thing' and nearly I had to draft a real shocking message!

    Return operation:

    At 0145 UTC the hatch of Soyuz-TM17 was closed behind Tsibliyev and Serebrov. At 0430 UTC the Soyuz-TM17 undocked from Mir. Tsibliyev had got orders to make a short inspection flight around the Mir-complex. They had to make images of the outer surface and they had to give special attention to the APAS89 docking system on Kristall (Module-T). In a distance of 30 Meters S- TM17 deviated from the desired course and collided with the Mir-station. Immediately radio contact with Soyuz-TM17 was lost. After 10 minutes TsUP managed to re-established radio contact with Soyuz-TM17 and the crew reported that their ship did not suffer damages and that the air-seal was still in good order. They also did not see any damages on the Mir-complex. Soyuz-TM17 made its last 2 orbits around the earth and the descent started at abt. 0715 UTC. At 0804 UTC the parachute opened and the 2-tonne heavy capsule made a safe landing at 08.18.20 UTC.


    The new crew (15th Main Expedition) immediately started observations through the portholes to try to determine eventual damages. During the passes in orbits 45206 (1100 UTC) and 45207 (1234 UTC) they transmitted to earth video-images which they made during the departure and fly-around of Soyuz-TM17. Shortly Afanasyev and Usachov will have to make a non-scheduled spacewalk to inspect the place, where Soyuz-TM17 hit the Mir- station. (probably near the APAS89 docking device on Kristall -Module-T).

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

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