FWD: [ans] MIR Crew Returns to Earth - Nobody in Space
- MIR CREW RETURNS TO EARTH
AMSAT NEWS SERVICE BULLETIN 241.01 FROM AMSAT HQ
SILVER SPRING, MD, AUGUST 29, 1999
TO ALL RADIO AMATEURS
New agencies around the world all reported the same story - for the
first time in over 10 years, there's nobody in space. Todd Halvorson
of the newspaper Florida Today told ANS that "in an emotional
overture to a fiery grand finale, an international crew left Russia's
aging space station Mir early Saturday morning, reducing Earth's
orbital population to zero." The crew's departure also signaled an
end to Amateur Radio operation aboard the Mir station.
Mir had been occupied for 3,641 consecutive days.
The departure followed a hectic two weeks in which the crew shut down
station laboratories, filled up its garbage scow and switched off all but
essential systems. A new crew, meanwhile, is being trained for a short
mission that might be needed to make final preparations for what would
amount to a burial-at-sea. The schedule calls for cosmonauts to fly to Mir
in February or March of 2000 and to oversee the arrival of a fuel-filled
Russian space freighter. The freighter would periodically fire onboard
thrusters, nudging Mir into a lower orbit of about 125 to 135 miles above
Earth. The crew then would abandon ship and return to Earth before the
freighter gives Mir a powerful last push into the upper atmosphere.
Mir has placed some incredible numbers in the record books, stating with
orbits; Mir orbits the Earth about 16 times a day, for total of more than
77,000 to date. The station has been aloft for almost 5,000 days going
back to the core component launch and has seen nearly 100 passengers,
including seven NASA astronauts, a Japanese journalist, a British
candymaker and several other foreign visitors. Mir was also the setting
for the longest stay in space by Cosmonaut Valery Polyakov (recording
438 days in 1994-95). Many of the visitors were ham operators who were
very 'radio-active' from the station during their stay.
Many satellite operators posted comments on the AMSAT-BB about Mir.
Jeff, W4JEF, essentially captured the thoughts of many with his posting;
"may the memory of the fun we've all had with Mir remained etched in our
minds for years to come."
[ANS congratulates the Mir space station and all who flew on her for their
ANS is a free, weekly, news and information service of AMSAT North
America, the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation. ANS reports on the
activities of a worldwide group of Amateur Radio operators who share an
active interest in designing, building, launching and communicating
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