Encyclopedia Astronautica
Mir 97

Crew: Ewald. ESA German astronaut. Primary mission swap of Soyuz lifeboats. Backup crew: Schlegel.

Soyuz TM-25 docked with Mir at the forward port on February 12 at 15:51:13 GMT. The EO-22 crew of Korzun and Kaleri, together with Ewald, undocked from Mir in the Soyuz TM-24 spaceship at 03:24 GMT on March 2 and landed at 06:44 GMT near Arkaylk in Kazakstan.

AKA: Sirius (Sirius ); Soyuz TM-25 (Ewald).
First Launch: 1997.02.10.
Last Launch: 1997.03.02.
Duration: 19.69 days.

More... - Chronology...

Associated People
  • Schlegel Schlegel, Hans Wilhelm (1951-) German physicist mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-55, STS-122. More...
  • Tsibliyev Tsibliyev, Vasili Vasilyevich (1954-) Russian pilot cosmonaut. Flew on Mir EO-14, Mir EO-23. 381 cumulative days in space. Call sign: Sirius (Sirius). More...
  • Ewald Ewald, Dr Reinhold (1956-) German engineer cosmonaut. Flew on Mir 97. More...
  • Lazutkin Lazutkin, Aleksandr Ivanovich (1957-) Russian engineer cosmonaut. Flew on Mir EO-23. Civilian Engineer, Energiya NPO. More...

See also
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...

Mir 97 Chronology

1997 February 10 - . 14:09 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz 11A511U.
1997 February 12 - .
  • Mir News 345: Soyuz-TM25 docked at Mir-complex - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir 97; Mir NASA-3; Mir EO-23; Mir EO-22. Without significant problems Soyuz-TM25 docked at the aft (+X axis) of Mir on 12.02.97 at 15.51.13 UTC. During this operation the Russians still used the system Kurs. The automatic mode worked well from the beginning and only in a distance of 5 M. Tsibliyev had to take over manually due to a slight deviation along the X axis (roll). After some little corrections he accomplished a soft 'kasaniye' (touch). During the first pass of both objects for our position (orb. 62758) 1541-1548 UTC approach traffic could be monitored on 121.750 mc, but the full Altair-1/Mir window (1510-1618 UTC) was in use for this traffic. In fact Soyuz-TM25 used for communications with TsUP 2 relay facilities: Mir and Altair-1. In this traffic Tsibliyev and Lazutkin (Siriusy) as well as Korzon (Fregat) could be heard. The moment of the soft docking could be derived from the word 'congratulations' spoken by one of the cosmonauts. During the next pass (orb. 62759), 1720-1726 UTC, the hatch had already been opened and the pass thereafter (orb. 62760/61) the new crew was inside Mir.

    Communications Soyuz-TM25: 3 hours after launch on 10.2.97 (orb. 2, 1712-1714 UTC) the transmissions of the ship could be monitored on the well known frequencies with Tsibliyev on 121.750 mc with TsUP. During the next pass (1841-1848 UTC) he reported the good results of the 2 orbit corrections. He also mentioned some problems with a TV-installation or a screen. Apart from some interference by the ground services of a near by airport (also using 121.750 mc, but AM-W) the signals came in loud and clear. Also during the second day (11.02.1997) traffic could be heard during all passes for our position.

    Communications Mir: On 8.02.1997 DLR's GSOC in Oberpfaffenhofen (Germany) and Mir tested the direct link via the quasi-geostationary comsat Altair-1 over 16dgs West. Good images and audio from inside Mir demonstrated that the test was a great success. They also checked the performance of the so called BDD (Betriebstechnik Deutschland Direkt). This is an interface assembly for direct data exchange between specialists on earth and Reinhold Ewald during experiments in the framework of the Mir-97 program. A few days later it was clear that the direct link between GSOC and Mir will be a normal routine until 2.03.1997 (the end of Mir-97).

    PS: A tragic event in my family caused delay in the mailing of this report.

    Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202 E-mail: cmvdberg@worldaccess.nl

1997 February 22 - .
  • Mir News 346: Mir'97 - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir 97; Mir NASA-3; Mir EO-23; Mir EO-22. Dr. Reinhold Ewald amuses himself well on board of the Mir space station. He uses as his private domain the Module Kristall (T). His American colleague Linenger has his private quarter in the Module Spektr (O). He is sleeping there , has room for personal belongings and he found a free surface on the wall to fasten some photographs. Thus far I do not know the temporary private quarters of Tsibliyev and Lazutkin. Korzun will remain in command of the complex until his departure on 2.03.1997. Ewald discusses the experiments which he has to execute during this mission with Sigmund Jähn (at TsUP) or with Hans Schlegel (in GSOC). From the radio traffic could be derived that Ewald is successfully executing the program although now and then something goes wrong. This was the case with an experiment planned for 19.02.1997: In the framework of a medical experiment he had to drink 200 ml tomato-juice with salt, but bad quality of the juice made this impossible. The experiments with the Titus-oven, the French Alice-2 installation (studies of the characteristics of liquids) and MEDEX (medical experiments) have been successfully executed thus far.

    Anniversaries: On 20.02.1997 Tsibliyev celebrated his 43d birthday. Exactly 11 years ago the Base block of Mir was launched. . Problems with a gyrodyne: On the eve of these anniversaries the crew had to solve a difficult problem. On 19.02.1997 during the pass in orbit 62876 (1521-1527 UTC) TsUP gave Korzun data, which had to be loaded in the system Svet for the movements control of the complex. Korzun asked what the reason was. TsUP informed him that Telemetry showed the malfunction of a gyrodyne in Kvant-2 (Module-D). In the evening and night the crews solved the problem.

    Communications: Contrary to the expectations the German GSOC Oberpfaffenhofen seldom uses the possibility for direct links with Mir via the (almost) geostationary Altair-1 (Cosmos-2054). Apart from the 143.625 mc, Ewald regularly uses the so called UKW-2 (VHF-2) on 130.165 mc for communications with his consultants (Sigmund Jähn) at TsUP and (Hans Schlegel) in GSOC. Now and then Linenger can be heard on that frequency with the American consultative group at TsUP . The 145.800 mc is the downlink frequency for Packet radio or phone. Mostly Korzun can be heard here. A few times Ewald uses this facility for contacts with German radio-amateurs. He uses the call sign DL2Mir. In the simplex mode he sometimes can be heard on 145.925 mc.

    Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202 E-m: cmvdberg@worldaccess.nl

1997 February 24 - .
  • Mir News 347: FIRE ON BOARD OF THE Mir-SPACE STATION - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir 97; Mir NASA-3; Mir EO-23; Mir EO-22. Radio traffic during VHF windows for our position in the morning of 24.02.1997 revealed that something serious had happened on board Mir. Somewhat earlier there was already an indication: a direct TV-link from Mir with Oberpfaffenhofen via Altair-1 for this morning did not take place. During the 3d pass for our position (orb. 62943, 1341-1348 UTC) the cloven hoof came out: in a conversation with his consultants on earth Ewald reported about a fire on board. This fire broke out last night. An oxygen cartridge caught fire and a grey smoke spread out in all parts of the complex. Korzun and Kaleri fought against the fire with extinguishers and the others tried to push back the smoke. All crew members had to wear gas-masks. This lasted two and a half hours the maximum endurance of those masks. The extinction water caused a high humidity and the temperature of the atmosphere was higher than normal. Ewald did not get smoke or just a little bit in his longs and to remain on the safe side he swallowed coal- and vitamin tablets and milk products. He was very tired but he did not think that this had been caused by something like pollution, but by the lack of sleep. He went asleep at 6 o'clock in the morning and woke up 4 hours later. Jerry Linenger was very busy collecting air samples for pollution tests. He also tried to determine the amount of formaldehyde. The crew of six was in the Base Block when the fire began in an adjacent room. Russian toxicologists are analysing telemetric data about Mir's on board atmosphere. The crew already collected urine- and saliva samples and later on they got instructions to collect blood samples and to do additional medical tests. In the course of the day a TV press conference was on schedule and a lot of journalist were waiting in Oberpfaffenhofen. Ewald told that the events had caused such a mess in the station that it was not convenient to have that TV session today. As a palliative Ewald answered some questions about the nightly occurrences and his statements almost fully confirmed the information gathered by me for this report.

    Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202.

1997 March 2 - .
  • Mir News 348: Soyuz-TM24 made happy landing - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir 97; Mir NASA-3; Mir EO-23; Mir EO-22. On 2.03.1997 at 0644 UTC the return capsule of the Soyuz-TM24 made a safe landing in Kazakhstan not far from Arkalyk (47degr49min North; 69degr24min East). At abt 4 mins later the first helicopter of the search- and rescue team reached that position. The return operation and landing took place without problems. During the return operation Soyuz-TM24 communicated via the Eastern tracking stations in Russia and probably Altair-2 over 96 dgs East. Obviously Altair-1 was (or: is?) not operational.

    Last week of Mir'97 and Main Expedition Mir 22:

    The fire in the night from 22 to 23.02 put its stamp on this last week due to the pollution of the Mir's atmosphere during the first days and the extra attention the crew had to give to the damaged oxygen-generator and cables. For a long time there was the smell caused by the fire. One of the cosmonauts spoke about the smell of 'roasted turkey'. Some crew members suffered from some irritation of the bronchia, a dry throat and sleeping problems. Nobody was hurt with the exception of Korzun who had a very small burn on his hand. Ewald had already executed the majority of the Mir'97 experiments and the events did not significantly influence that program. German project managers were satisfied about the successful results and conclusion of the mission. During this week there has been a lot of radio traffic on 2 frequencies simultaneously: the Russians used 143.625 mc and Ewald and Linenger 130.165 mc. For some planned TV sessions, i.e. for the RTL children's programme Captain Bluebear and about a contest for drawings by children with the wife of the German President Herzog they did not use the geostationary satellites but direct TV transceivers on lower frequencies. For phone during these sessions Ewald used the UKW-2 130.165 mc.

    Siriusses: The new crew, Tsibliyev and Lazutkin, the 23d M.E. to Mir, and Jerry Linenger will have to do a lot of work in the near future. In fact there are still a lot of experiments in the framework of Mir'97 to be done: this had been planned and this work got the designation Mir'97E, the letter 'E' standing for 'Extension'.

    Progress-M33: This old freighter is still flying autonomously until her 2d docking at Mir. That will take place on 4.03.97. Tsibliyev got orders to control the approach and docking manually with the remote-control system TORU. There has also been an instruction to leave Progress-M33's hatch closed after docking. Kaleri asked TsUP to consider the possibility to open the hatch and to use the still available room in the spherical part of Progress-M33 to stow stuff no longer needed: especially the considerable amount of human waste. During the long period with a crew of 6 the quantity of this increased enormously.

    Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202.

1997 March 2 - .
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