Encyclopedia Astronautica
Mir Aragatz



qcosmeva.jpg
Mir Cosmonaut on EVA
Credit: RKK Energia
Crew: Chretien. French mission to Mir; record duration for a non-Soviet aboard one of their space stations; first French spacewalk. TM-6 computer first landing aborted. Backup software program used and TM-6 landed successfully. Backup crew: Tognini.

Jean-Loup Chretien arrived at Mir aboard Soyuz TM-7 together with Expedition EO-4 crew members Alexander Volkov and Sergei Krikalyov. The initial orbit of Soyuz TM-7 was 194 X 235 km. Thereafter the spacecraft maneuvered to a rendezvous orbit of 256 X 291 km before docking with Mir in 337 X 369 km at 17:16 GMT 28 November. Chretien's Aragatz mission was a record duration for a non-Soviet aboard one of their space stations and featured the first French spacewalk. Chretien returned together with the EO-3 crew of Manarov and and Titov aboard Soyuz TM-6. They undocked at 03:33 GMT 21 December 1989, but revised software installed as a result of the Soyuz TM-5 abort overloaded the spacecraft's computer. The landing planned for 06:48 was aborted. A backup software program was usedand the Soyuz orbital module was retained through retrofire. The crew finally landed safely on December 21, 1988 09:57 GMT, 180 km SE Dzhezkazgan.

Narrative (adapted from D S F Portree's Mir Hardware Heritage, NASA RP-1357, 1995)

Soyuz-TM 7 arrived at Mir on November 28, 1988 on the Franco-Soviet Aragatz mission with French cosmonaut Jean-Loup Chretien (on his second mission to a Soviet space station) and Soviet cosmonauts Alexander Volkov and Sergei Krikalyov. This increased Mir's population to six. According to Krikalev, this was the 'worst-case scenario' as far as crowding on the station was concerned. Not only were there more cosmonauts than usual aboard Mir; the station was also full of equipment and life support supplies delivered by Progress freighters for the joint Franco-Soviet mission. The crowding was exacerbated because there was no docking port free for a Progress freighter. Therefore, the crew could not use a Progress as a 'pantry' or 'storage room' for the station. The large joint experiment manifest—mostly medical and technology experiments chosen to support the French-led European Space Agency Hermes shuttle project—strained Mir's electricity supply. The total mass of the experiments was 580 kg.

Preparations for the first EVA involving a non-Soviet/non-U.S. space traveller forced the cosmonauts to cut short a TV meeting with diplomats from 47 countries on December 8. On December 9 Chretien and Volkov depressurised the multiport docking adapter and clambered outside Mir. Chretien was first out. He installed handrails, then attached the 15.5 kg Enchantillons experiment rack to the handrails by springs and hooks. He also attached electrical wires leading from the rack to Mir's power supply. Enchantillons carried five technological experiments with applications to the Hermes shuttle program. Volkov and Chretien then assembled the 240-kg ERA experiment. They attached a mount to handrails on the frustum linking the multiport docking unit to the small-diameter portion of the work compartment. After resolving problems with cables linking ERA to a control panel inside Mir, they attached the folded ERA structure to a support arm on the platform. The structure was designed to unfold to form a flat six-sided structure 1 m deep by 3.8 m across. From inside Mir, Krikalyov commanded the structure to unfold, but to no avail. Volkov then kicked ERA, causing it to unfold properly. According to Krikalyov, taking the ERA outside helped relieve the crowding problems. The EVA lasted 5 hr and 57 min.

After the EVA, Titov and Manarov showed Krikalyov, and Volkov the peculiarities of living and working on Mir. On December 15, their 359th day in space, Titov and Manarov officially beat Romanenko's 326-day single-flight endurance record by the required 10%. On December 19, Soyuz TM-6 was powered up to prepare it for for descent.

Manarov, Titov, and Chretien boarded Soyuz TM-6 and undocked at 03:33 GMT 21 December 1989, but revised software installed as a result of the Soyuz TM-5 abort overloaded the spacecraft's computer. The landing planned for 06:48 was aborted. A backup software program was used and the Soyuz orbital module was retained through retrofire. The crew finally landed safely on December 21, 1988 09:57 GMT, under low clouds, in sub-freezing temperatures, 180 km SE Dzhezkazgan.

AKA: Donbass (Donbass - River Don basin); Soyuz TM-7 (Chretien).
First Launch: 1988.11.26.
Last Launch: 1988.12.21.
Duration: 24.76 days.

More... - Chronology...


Associated People
  • Chretien Chretien, Jean-Loup Jacques Marie (1938-) French test pilot mission specialist astronaut. Flew on Salyut 7 EP-1, Mir Aragatz, STS-86. First French astronaut. Trained for missions under both US and Russian programs. More...
  • Polyakov Polyakov, Dr Valeri Vladimirovich (1942-) Russian physician cosmonaut. Flew on Mir LD-2, Mir LD-4. Longest single space flight (437 days). 678 cumulative days in space. Civilian Physician, Institute of Medical Biological Problems. More...
  • Volkov, Aleksandr Volkov, Aleksandr Aleksandrovich (1948-) Ukrainian pilot cosmonaut. Flew on Salyut 7 EO-4-2, Mir EO-4, Mir EO-10. Father of cosmonaut Sergei Volkov. 391 cumulative days in space. More...
  • Tognini Tognini, Michel Ange-Charles (1949-) French test pilot mission specialist astronaut. Flew on Mir Antares, STS-93. Trained for missions under both US and Russian programs. More...
  • Krikalyov Krikalyov, Sergei Konstantinovich (1958-) Russian engineer cosmonaut, Energia NPO, 1985-2009. Flew on Mir EO-4, Mir LD-3, STS-60, STS-88, ISS EO-1, ISS EO-11. World record for total duration spent in space (803 days). First Russian to fly aboard an American spacecraft. Flew in space six times. 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 Aragatz Chronology


1988 November 26 - . 15:49 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz 11A511U2.
  • Soyuz TM-7 - . Call Sign: Donbass (Donbass - River Don basin). Crew: Chretien; Krikalyov; Volkov, Aleksandr. Backup Crew: Serebrov; Tognini; Viktorenko. Payload: Soyuz TM 11F732 s/n 57. Mass: 7,000 kg (15,400 lb). Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Chretien; Krikalyov; Volkov, Aleksandr; Serebrov; Tognini; Viktorenko. Agency: MOM. Program: Mir. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Flight: Mir EO-4; Mir Aragatz; Mir LD-2; Mir EO-3. Spacecraft: Soyuz TM. Duration: 151.47 days. Decay Date: 1989-04-27 . USAF Sat Cat: 19660 . COSPAR: 1988-104A. Apogee: 235 km (146 mi). Perigee: 194 km (120 mi). Inclination: 51.6000 deg. Period: 88.80 min. Mir Expedition EO-04. Carried Alexander Volkov, Sergei Krikalev, Jean-Loup Chretien to Mir; returned Volkov, Krikalev to Earth. Initial Orbit: 194 X 235 km. Thereafter maneuvered to rendezvous orbit 256 X 291 km before docking with Mir in 337 X 369 km at 17:16 GMT 28 November.

1988 December 9 - . 09:57 GMT - .
1988 December 21 - .
  • Landing of Soyuz TM-6 - . Return Crew: Chretien; Manarov; Titov, Vladimir. Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Chretien; Manarov; Titov, Vladimir. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir EO-4; Mir Aragatz; Mir LD-2; Mir EO-3. Soyuz TM-6 landed at 09:57 GMT with the crew of Chretien, Manarov and Titov Vladimir aboard. Undocked from Mir 21 December 1989 at 03:33 GMTwith the crew of Chretien, Manarov and Titov Vladimir aboard. Revised software installed as a result of TM-5 abort overloaded computer. Landing planned for 06:48 aborted. Backup program used. Orbital Module retained through retrofire. Landed December 21, 1988 09:57 GMT, 180 km SE of Dzhezkazgan.

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