Encyclopedia Astronautica
Mir-Shuttle Docking Module


Russian manned space station. One launch, 1995.11.12. A specialized SO docking module was originally designed for docking the Buran space shuttle with the Mir-2 space station.

In the 1992 concept the module would be delivered by a Progress-M tug to Mir-2 and included a lateral EVA hatch and an axial APDS androgynous docking unit for use by Buran. By 1993 Buran and Mir-2 were cancelled and the SO was to be used to dock the US Space Shuttle with the International Space Station.

In May 1993 discussions regarding docking the US Shuttle with the Mir space station, NASA expressed concern about the clearances between the Shuttle and Mir's solar panels when using the docking port designed for Buran on the Kristal module. The Russians thought NASA overly cautious, but NPO Energia offered a solution - a modified version of the SO, to be delivered by the Shuttle. Without the SO, NASA insisted that Mir's Kristal module would have to be temporarily repositioned at the forward axial port of the base block for every docking with the shuttle. The simplified SO design approved on 1 November 1993 deleted the lateral airlock. Qualification was relatively straightforward since the basic structure of the Soyuz BO orbital module was used, and the APDS androgynous docking port installation had already been proven on Soyuz-TM16. The draft project was completed in December 1993. A mock-up was delivered to NASA in April 1994 and the flight article reached the Kennedy Space Center on 7 June 1995. The module also carried two solar arrays - one Russian and one jointly developed by the US and Russia to augment Mir's power. The MCSA (Mir Co-operative Solar Array) was a 42 sq. meter, 6.7kW, a retractable device using Russian structures and American solar cells.

The module was mated with the station on November 14, 1995 at the Kristal module's axial docking port. New versions of the SO were also to be delivered by Russia to the International Space Station, though these plans were in constant flux.

Gross mass: 6,134 kg (13,523 lb).
Height: 4.70 m (15.40 ft).
First Launch: 1995.11.12.
Number: 1 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
  • Shuttle The manned reusable space system which was designed to slash the cost of space transport and replace all expendable launch vehicles. It did neither, but did keep NASA in the manned space flight business for 30 years. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Shuttle American winged orbital launch vehicle. The manned reusable space system which was designed to slash the cost of space transport and replace all expendable launch vehicles. It did neither, but did keep NASA in the manned space flight business for 30 years. Redesign of the shuttle with reliability in mind after the Challenger disaster reduced maximum payload to low earth orbit from 27,850 kg to 24,400 kg. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • NASA American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, USA, USA. More...
  • Korolev Russian manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Korolev Design Bureau, Kaliningrad, Russia. More...

Associated Programs
  • Mir The Mir space station was the last remnant of the once mighty Soviet space programme. It was built to last only five years, and was to have been composed of modules launched by Proton and Buran/Energia launch vehicles. These modules were derived from those originally designed by Chelomei in the 1960's for the Almaz military station programme. As the Soviet Union collapsed Mir stayed in orbit, but the final modules were years late and could only be completed with American financial assistance. Kept flying over a decade beyond its rated life, Mir proved a source of pride to the Russian people and proved the ability of their cosmonauts and engineers to improvise and keep operations going despite all manner of challenges and mishaps. More...

Bibliography
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Jonathan's Space Home Page (launch records), Harvard University, 1997-present. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • JPL Mission and Spacecraft Library, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 1997. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • NASA Shuttle and ISS Mission Press Kits and News Releases, NASA, 1981-present. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • NASA Shuttle-Mir Web, NASA, 1997. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Oberg, James, Red Star in Orbit, Random House, New York, 1981.

Associated Launch Sites
  • Cape Canaveral America's largest launch center, used for all manned launches. Today only six of the 40 launch complexes built here remain in use. Located at or near Cape Canaveral are the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, used by NASA for Saturn V and Space Shuttle launches; Patrick AFB on Cape Canaveral itself, operated the US Department of Defense and handling most other launches; the commercial Spaceport Florida; the air-launched launch vehicle and missile Drop Zone off Mayport, Florida, located at 29.00 N 79.00 W, and an offshore submarine-launched ballistic missile launch area. All of these take advantage of the extensive down-range tracking facilities that once extended from the Cape, through the Caribbean, South Atlantic, and to South Africa and the Indian Ocean. More...
  • Cape Canaveral LC39A Shuttle, Saturn V launch complex. LC39A and LC39B, part of the Kennedy Space Center, were built on Merritt Island (north/northwest of the Cape) to support the Saturn V/Apollo lunar landing program. The sites were modified in the last half of the 1970s to support the manned Space Shuttle program. Construction began in December 1963. Complex 39A was completed on 4 October 1965. Complex 39A supported two unmanned and nine manned Saturn V/Apollo missions between 9 November 1967 and 8 December 1972. The site also supported the launch of the Skylab space station on 14 May 1973. Both complexes were modified to support Space Shuttle missions later on. Complex 39A supported the first Space Shuttle launch on 12 April 1981. More...

Mir-Shuttle Docking Module Chronology


1993 May - .
  • Mir-Shuttle Docking Module proposed - . Nation: Russia. Spacecraft: Mir-Shuttle Docking Module; Mir. In discussions regarding docking the US Shuttle with the Mir space station, NASA expressed concern about the clearances between the Shuttle and Mir's solar panels when using the docking port designed for Buran on the Kristall module. The Russians thought NASA overly cautious, but NPO Energia offered a solution - a modified version of the Buran SO, to be delivered by the Shuttle. The specialised SO docking module was originally designed for docking the Buran space shuttle with the Mir-2 space station. In the 1992 concept the module would be delivered by a Progress-M tug to Mir-2 and included a lateral EVA hatch.

1994 During the Year - .
  • Mir-Shuttle Docking Module design approved. - . Nation: Russia. Spacecraft: Mir-Shuttle Docking Module; Mir. The simplified SO design deleted the lateral airlock. Qualification was relatively straightforward since the basic structure of the Soyuz BO orbital module was used, and the APDS androgynous docking port installation had already been proven on Soyuz-TM16. The draft project was completed in December 1993.

1994 April - .
1995 June 7 - .
  • Mir-Shuttle Docking Module delivered. - . Nation: Russia. Spacecraft: Mir-Shuttle Docking Module; Mir. Summary: Mir-Shuttle Docking Module flight article reached the Kennedy Space Center. It would be docked to the Mir station on November 14, 1995 at the Kristall module's axial docking port..

1995 November 12 - . 12:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39A. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-74.
  • Mir-Shuttle Docking Module - . Payload: DM 316GK s/n 1. Mass: 6,134 kg (13,523 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: NASA. Manufacturer: Korolev. Program: Mir. Class: Manned. Type: Manned space station. Flight: STS-74; Mir EO-20. Spacecraft: Mir-Shuttle Docking Module. Duration: 8.19 days. COSPAR: 1995-061xx. Apogee: 342 km (212 mi). Perigee: 356 km (221 mi). Inclination: 51.6000 deg. Summary: Atlantis rendezvoused and docked with Mir space station on Nov 15. After departure the Russian-built 316GK Shuttle-Mir docking module remained attached to Mir to provide easier docking capability in the future..

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