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Fwd = Mir to resemble UFO over UK

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  • Frits Westra
    Forwarded by: fwestra@hetnet.nl URL: http://www.itn.co.uk/news/20001227/world/03mir.shtml Original Date: Thu, 4 Jan 2001 20:42:51 +0100
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 4, 2001
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      Forwarded by: fwestra@...
      URL: http://www.itn.co.uk/news/20001227/world/03mir.shtml
      Original Date: Thu, 4 Jan 2001 20:42:51 +0100 (CET)

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

      Mir to resemble UFO over UK

      Mir will appear in the night sky each night until January 9 when its
      orbit passes over Britain.


      Russian space station Mir is to become one of the brightest objects in
      the night sky when it passes over Britain. Experts believe some
      observers could be fooled into thinking that it is a UFO.

      If the weather is clear, the space station should be visible for a few
      minutes between 5pm and 6pm each night until January 9, as its orbit
      passes over Britain.

      Mir hit the headlines over Christmas when it was feared that the space
      station could crash back to earth after controllers lost radio contact
      with the craft.

      There were worries that it could cause damage if it landed in densely
      populated parts of the world.

      It was the most recent in a series of set-backs for the ageing Russian
      space station.

      It was hit by a terrifying fire and near disastrous collision with an
      unmanned cargo ship in 1997 followed by a series of computer glitches
      and breakdowns.

      The craft is currently unmanned, but had cosmonauts on board almost
      continuously until August 1999, when it was abandoned.

      The Mir only had one 73-day manned mission last year and the crew
      returned safely in June raising official optimism about the prospects
      of keeping it in orbit without a crew.

      When Mir was launched on February 20, 1986, it was the epitome of
      achievement for the Soviet Union.

      However, following the collapse of communism, the project became an
      increasing financial burden on Russia's economy.

      With NASA and other foreign space agencies concentrating on the new
      International Space Station, the end of Mir seemed inevitable.

      The Russian Cabinet approved a plan to crash the Mir into the Pacific
      900 to 1,200 miles east of Australia on February 27-28.

      The decision followed failed attempts to find private investors to
      keep the station operative.

      Factfile

      Mir space station

      Mir was launched in February 1986 and five modules have been added to
      the base unit since then.

      Mir has made more than 60,000 trips around the Earth.

      It has played host to 28 long expeditions, 16 shorter ones, and a
      total of 23,000 scientific experiments, according to the Russians.

      The 130-tonne spacestation ranks as one of the great feats of the
      space age, especially as it was only planned as a three-year project.

      Cosmonauts set records for living in space with Valeri Polyakov
      staying aloft for 439 days.

      Special treadmill exercises and diets were designed to stop muscles
      from wasting.

      The station has been almost permanently occupied, apart from a few
      months in 1989, until August 1999, when it was abandoned.

      The decrepit station - dubbed Spaceship Lada - has suffered mishaps
      including a collision with a robot cargo Progress spacecraft in 1997,
      a power loss and computer problems.

      British-born Dr Michael Foale was the fifth of seven Americans who
      lived on Mir to help NASA gain experience for the future International
      Space Station.

      Russia agreed to scrap the craft in return for joint participation
      with the Americans in the International Space Station.

      The plan for Mir's final journey, announced on November 16, 2000, was
      to crash land it into the Pacific Ocean, 1,000 miles off Australia
      during February 2001.

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