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.