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Fwd = Mir News from Chris van den Berg

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  • Frits Westra
    Forwarded by: fwestra@hetnet.nl URL: http://www2.satellite.eu.org/sat/vsohp/mirnews.html Original Date: Wed, 31 May 2000 19:16:48 -0500
    Message 1 of 5 , Jun 1, 2000
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      Mir News from Chris van den Berg

      MIRNEWS.481

      26 MAY 2000

      Publicity about MIR:

      These days a huge amount of 'news' about MIR is reaching us. This news
      comes from different sources. Regretfully the enumerated facts are not
      always equal and even sometimes full of contradictions.

      The transition of the MIR-exploitation from the Russian state to a
      commercial organisation meant to me that I had to change the way in which
      I used to publish information gathered by monitoring of
      radiocommunications. It would be incorrect to use that to put spokes in
      MIRcorp's wheels.

      Own 'observations' force me to take a lot of that what is published with a
      grain -and even sometimes 'ounces'- of salt. As an example can serve the
      information about the airleaks. The search for leakages and the
      airpressure checks still go on, but some days ago publications suggested
      that the station was fully airtight. On 25.05 the deputy Head of TsUP,
      V.D. Blagov, told the press that the certainty about this cannot be given
      earlier than next week when all airtight checks in the Kvant-module and
      the Base Block will be concluded. (Of all persons who give information
      about the state of the MIR-complex Blagov is the only one on which I rely
      for 100%.)

      Another example of inconsistent publicity was the information that the
      crew would return to earth in the midst of June. So somehow the date 16.06
      emerged. During a radio contact on 25.05 TsUP asked Zalyotin if the crew
      would have objections against the training for the return operations on
      5.06. Zalyotin said that there were no objections, but that he would like
      to hear when the return was scheduled. TsUP uttered the posibility that
      this would be 16.06, but that this question was still under consideration.

      A spokesman at TsUP declared, also on 25.05, that there had not yet been a
      decision about the date of return and that a prolongation of the flight
      was still an option.

      Stakhanovtsy: In the decade between 1930 and 1940 workers in the S.U. who
      managed to produce more than the plan demanded, got the title of honour
      'Stakhanovets'. A tovarishch with that name was the first 'hero' in that
      repect. The present crew on board MIR is working so hard that it seems as
      if they try to achieve the title 'Stakhanovtsy'. The present dense radio
      traffic makes it clear that the crew is working extremely hard. Among the
      activities to prepare the complex for the oncoming autonomous flight they
      have to execute a lot of experiments, but they also continue repairs and
      the replacement of equipment and parts , like filters, ventilators,
      cables, pumps, valves, etc. A lot of time has to be invested in those
      activities and often the time-tables and schedules (the so-called
      cyclograms) cannot be used. Not all repairs are feasible.

      The most attention has to be given to the life-support systems. The
      airpressure checks go on and with the instrument Bar the cosmonauts use
      temperature and humidity sensors to detect tiny airstreams in the Module
      Kvant and the Base Block. After the EVA on 12.05 the airlock of Module-D
      (the Sh.S.O.) got extra checks. With Bar they searched near the portholes
      and an airvalve, the KSD. The crew has also worked on the pipes for the
      heating system KOB. Using the Germatizator glue and tape (possibly
      metallic) they sealed off leaks and cracks in those pipes.

      On 20.5.2000 during the pass in orbit 81479, 1243-1247UTC, Zalyotin
      reported that the air-pressure was 664 MM Mercury and also that they just
      had burnt 3 cartridges. (These are lithium perchloride cartridges to
      produce extra oxygen. Possibly the Elektrons are not fully utilized due to
      the failure of the crucial solar battery on Kvant-1).

      Experiments: The crew spoke about the experiments Optovert, Linza, Pelena,
      Prochnostj, Indikator and the medical ones in the MK-series, and they
      carried out experiments in the greenhouse Svet or Orangery. On 24, 25 and
      26.05 the crew transmitted TV-images or video-films to TsUP. To adjust or
      aim the cameras, among which the LIV, Zalyotin had to go into the
      Module-Kristall. Files containing results of experiments are transmitted
      to earth via the telemetry system with the modem or interface BITS.

      Communications: These are very intensive, especially because of the fact
      that all passes now take place within the normal working hours. Due to the
      limited communications infrastructure the Russians have to use every
      available communications window (Oberpfaffenhofn, White Sands, Dryden and
      Wallops do not play a role during this expedition). It is quite normal
      that I daily produce 4 or 5 pages A-4 with written translations of radio
      communications.

      And last but not least: Information of TsUP on 26.05.2000 at 0900UTC.
      Provisional date of return of Zalyotin and Kaleri with the Soyuz-TM30 on
      9.06.2000 with alternative: 14.06.2000. But I beg you all: don't blame me
      if this will not come true.


      Chris van den Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202.

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    • Frits Westra
      Forwarded by: fwestra@hetnet.nl URL: http://www2.satellite.eu.org/sat/vsohp/mirnews.html Original Date: 18 Jan 2001 23:57:55 -0000
      Message 2 of 5 , Jan 18, 2001
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        Mir News from Chris van den Berg

        MIRNEWS. 489 18 JANUARY 2001

        Time editing: 1035UTC.

        Progress-M1-5:

        The launch of this tanker has been delayed for 4 or 5
        days due to serious problems aboard the MIR-space
        station.

        MIR: Insufficient power supply to one of the
        Modules caused a malfunction in the attitude control
        system of the complex. The huge gyroscopes (called
        gyrodynes) stopped, and the TsVM-1 (Main Computer)
        and the SUD (control of movements) switched themselves
        off.

        Now the complex is in the so called 'free drift'. The
        BUPO, the analogue back- up system, needed to achieve
        the necessary stable attitude for the activation of
        the digital attitude control system, does not
        function at this point. TsUP will do all what is
        possible to activate all systems today.

        Telemetry: Today (18.01) during the pass of the
        MIR-station in orbit 85308, I could monitor the
        telemetry transmitters on 638.085.7 and 637.829.0 mc
        between 10.28.29 and 10.30.10 UTC. The signals were
        very weak. I did not hear the telemetry transmissions
        in the 166 and 165 mc bands.

        Consequences: The Russians have to do all what is
        possible to cope with this problem. In my opinion a
        manned maintenance mission inevitable. This crew will
        have to take care ofa thorough overhaul of all
        crucial systems. I would not be surprised if we get
        an official announcement about such a mission today
        or tomorrow.

        Chris van den Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202

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      • Frits Westra
        Forwarded by: fwestra@hetnet.nl URL: http://www2.satellite.eu.org/sat/vsohp/mirnews.html Original Date: 25 Jan 2001 19:57:40 -0000
        Message 3 of 5 , Jan 25, 2001
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          Original Date: 25 Jan 2001 19:57:40 -0000

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          Mir News from Chris van den Berg


          MIRNEWS.491 24 JANUARY 2001
          Progress-M1-5 launched.

          The tanker Progress-M1-5 was launched from Baykonur on 24.01.2001 at
          04.28.42UTC for a 3 day lasting flight to MIR. This time 3 days instead
          of 4 for ballistic reasons: the orbit of MIR on 27.01 in relation to that
          of Progress-M1-5.

          Pr-M1-5 will approach for a docking to MIR in the automatic mode on
          27.01.01 at approx. 0530UTC.

          Progress-M43: In contradiction to some earlier publications this old
          freighter will undock from MIR on 25.01.2001 at 05.16.30UTC.

          Attitude control MIR-complex: The stabilisation of MIR is under control of
          stee ring rockets and the analogue system BUPO. Attempts to activate the
          gyrodines, or some of them, have been unsuccessful.

          In the past, so before the addition of Module D (Kvant-2) to the
          MIR-configurat ion, Argon-16, a system like BUPO, and steering rockets
          controlled the attitude of the complex during docking operations in the
          automatic mode.

          Communications on 24.01:

          Progress-M1-5: During the pass of this tanker in the 3rd orbit
          (0904-0906UTC) the telemetry transmissions in the 166 and 165 mc could be
          monitored in Western Europe.

          During the pass in the 4th orbit (10.32.45 and 10.37.51UTC) very strong
          transmissions in the 166 and 165 mc and the 922.755 mc could be
          monitored. TCA (Time Closest Approach), so when the beacon transmitted
          exactly on 922.755 mc, was at 10.34.00UTC.

          MIR:

          Almost during every pass the telemetry transmissions in the 638 and 637 mc
          bands can be monitored. Now and then, for instance on 24.01 at 0944UTC
          also the 166.125 mc transmitter was active.

          C.M. van den Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202

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        • Frits Westra
          Forwarded by: fwestra@hetnet.nl URL: http://www2.satellite.eu.org/sat/vsohp/mirnews.html Original Date: Sun, 11 Mar 2001 13:57:47 +0100
          Message 4 of 5 , Mar 11, 2001
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            Original Date: Sun, 11 Mar 2001 13:57:47 +0100 (CET)

            ========================== Forwarded message begins ======================


            Mir News from Chris van den Berg


            MIRNEWS.494 (10 March 2001)

            MIR-telemetry: MIR is still alive. Every evening the telemetry can be
            monitored via some frequencies during the 2nd and 3rd pass within our
            range in the Netherlands. If so this can be heard on 638.090 and
            637.835 mc and now and then the transmitters in the 166 and 165 mc
            bands are transmitting simultaneously.

            The good functioning of the communication systems, so the downlink
            telemetry from MIR and the Progress-M1-5 as well as the remote
            controlled command channels in the complex is a must. Failures of
            these systems will hamper (or even make impossible) the controlled
            descent into the earth's atmosphere.

            Ballistic details: TsUP still issues daily reports about the decay of
            MIR. Around 12.02 the daily descent rates were less than 1000 Meters
            but after 15.02 these values increased and were almost 2000 Meters
            during the last week. In the last 24 hours on 10.03 the complex's
            descent was 2100 Meters. At this moment (10.03) the solar activity is
            very high: F 10.7 is 165. Variations in this activity hamper
            calculations of exact predictions.

            Thus far all reports stated that as soon as MIR would descend pass the
            altitude of 250 KM TsUP would administer 3 braking impulses to achieve
            the altitude of 215 KM from where a 4th and last impulse had to bring
            the complex back into the atmosphere for decay over the Pacific east
            of New Zealand. (Position 47 degrees South, 140 degrees West)

            Last week the operation plan has been changed. To economize fuel the
            Russians decided to postpone braking impulses and to continue the
            natural drag until 220 or 215 KM from where 2 short impulses will be
            given within a period of 6 hours. The next day a long impulse will
            bring the complex into the atmosphere and on the destruction
            trajectory.

            The last ballistic report gives a prediction for the altitude 220 KM
            in the period from 18 until 23.03.

            After entering the earth's atmosphere MIR needs approx. 45 minutes to
            reach the target area after disintegrating between 90 and 60 KM. (If
            the optimism of the responsible authorities will be justified.)

            Chris van den Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202
            _________________________________________________________________

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          • Frits Westra
            Forwarded by: fwestra@hetnet.nl URL: http://www2.satellite.eu.org/sat/vsohp/mirnews.html Original Date: Mon, 19 Mar 2001 15:08:10 -0800
            Message 5 of 5 , Mar 19, 2001
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              Mir News from Chris van den Berg

              MIRNEWS.495 (17 March 2001)

              These days an enormous stream of information about the last days of
              the MIR-space station is reaching us from several sites on Internet. A
              part of that information coincides or is equal to what I myself can
              gather from some reliable sources.

              All this information does not refer to one of the weakest points in
              this period: the functioning of the Telemetry and Tele command
              channels from and to the MIR-complex and the Progress-M1-5.

              So during every pass within my range I monitor the telemetry channels
              to be sure that the Russians still can rely upon this Achilles' heel
              of the de-orbit operation.

              Thus far, that is to say up to and including the pass in orbit 86237
              1125-1133UTC on 17.03.2001, I monitored the MIR telemetry via the
              channels 638.091 and 637.837 mc and during a number of passes last
              week also the Progress-M1-5 channels on 166.125 and 165.875 mc.

              It goes without saying that I will continue to check these channels
              until the reentry of the space station.

              In the undesired case I will meet full radio silence on these
              channels, I will inform you in another MIRNEWS-report.

              Chris van den Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202

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