Building in orbit

A lot of information about Mir (the name means "peace" and also "world") was available from the start - part of the new Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev's policy of glasnost, or "openness". The nature of the station was revealed within a few weeks of its launch - scientific equipment would be added piece by piece in additional modules, keeping the core of the space station comparatively uncrowded. This was just as well, since Mir was

I TECHNOLOGY

m

THE PROGRESS CARGO SPACECRAFT

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In order to keep a crew in orbit for long periods of time, a new type of spacecraft was needed - an automated supply vehicle that could fly to orbit, rendezvous, and dock with a space station almost automatically. This was the purpose of the Progress ferry. The original Progress evolved from Soyuz manned ferries (type 7K-T) used in the Salyut 6 mission and made its debut in August 1978. An upgraded version, Progress M, incorporated technology developed for the Soyuz T and was first used in August « 1989. This newer version^ could also transport a capsule capable of returning to Earth with samples from Mir.

without wasting valuable thruster fuel.

In late 1989, Kvant-2 brought an improved life-support system. In the meantime, various crews had come and gone - in December 1988, Vladimir Titov and Musa Manarov had become the first people to spend a year in space and had recovered well. Mir's multiple ports allowed two spacecraft to be docked at the same time, so a new crew could arrive without the old one having to leave. Because Soyuz could carry three people and Mir had a typical crew of two, foreign "guest cosmonauts" could also visit, even if an entire crew was being replaced at the same time.

Kristall, a materials science and geophysics laboratory, was added to the station in June 1990 - but by the time Mir expanded further, the Soviet Union would have slipped into history.

FIRST CREW

Leonid Kizim (left) ond Vladimir Solovyov were chosen for the Mir-Solyut mission because they had already spent a long tour of duty aboard Salyut 7.

FIRST CREW

Leonid Kizim (left) ond Vladimir Solovyov were chosen for the Mir-Solyut mission because they had already spent a long tour of duty aboard Salyut 7.

RUSH HOUR IN ORBIT

By late 1990, Mir was in an upside-down T-shaped configuration. Kvant-1 is mounted above the core module at the end of Mir's long axis, while Kvant-2 and Kristall form the crossbar of the "T".

intended to be the first space station with more-or-less continuous occupancy. Once the first crew got Mir up and running on 13 March, they then travelled to the abandoned Salyut 7, revived it from deep-frozen slumber, and ultimately transferred a large amount of experimental material to the new station.

The second major element of Mir, the Kvant-1 astrophysics module, docked with the station just over a year later. Originally designed for Salyut 7, Kvant-1 also contained Mir's first set of gyrodynes - electronically controlled stabilizing wheels that allowed the station's attitude to be altered in orbit

RUSH HOUR IN ORBIT

By late 1990, Mir was in an upside-down T-shaped configuration. Kvant-1 is mounted above the core module at the end of Mir's long axis, while Kvant-2 and Kristall form the crossbar of the "T".

In order to keep a crew in orbit for long periods of time, a new type of spacecraft was needed - an automated supply vehicle that could fly to orbit, rendezvous, and dock with a space station almost automatically. This was the purpose of the Progress ferry. The original Progress evolved from Soyuz manned ferries (type 7K-T) used in the Salyut 6 mission and made its debut in August 1978. An upgraded version, Progress M, incorporated technology developed for the Soyuz T and was first used in August « 1989. This newer version^ could also transport a capsule capable of returning to Earth with samples from Mir.

TECHNOLOGY

THE PROTON LAUNCH VEHICLE

All of Mir's major components were launched with the Soviet Union's most reliable heavy launch vehicle, the Proton. Formally known as the UR-500, the Proton got its name from a series of heavy satellites that it launched early in its career, which began in 1965 and continues today. The rocket was designed for launching the Almaz station and various lunar missions, and was a rival to Korolev's ambitious N1. Despite appearances, the "boosters" around the base are actually integral to the first stage - they hold the rocket engines and the UDMH fuel (see p.45), while the core carries the nitrogen tetroxide oxidizer. --

additional solar array container

active docking unit

Kristall attitude-control and propulsion unit biological and materials science laboratory photogrophic equipment

\ railing Docking Module

TECHNOLOGY

MODULAR SOVIET SPACE STATION

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