Encyclopedia Astronautica
Mir EO-15



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Soyuz TM-18
Polyakov, Afanasyev, Usachev aboard Mir.
Credit: RKK Energia
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Soyuz TM-18
Usachev with Penguin suit aboard Mir.
Credit: RKK Energia
Crew: Afanasyev, Usachyov. Mir Expedition EO-15. Docked at the Kvant module on January 10 at 11:15 GMT. Transported to the Mir orbital station of a crew comprising the cosmonauts V M Afanasev, Y V Usachev, and V V Polyakov for the fifteenth main expedition. The Soyuz TM-18 descent module landed 110 km north of Arkalyk in Kazakhstan at 10:32:35 GMT on July 9. Backup crew: Malenchenko, Musabayev.

Mir Expedition EO-15. Docked at the Kvant module on January 10 at 11:15 GMT. Transported to the Mir orbital station of a crew comprising the cosmonauts V M Afanasev, Y V Usachev, and V V Polyakov for the fifteenth main expedition. The Soyuz TM-18 descent module landed 110 km north of Arkalyk in Kazakhstan at 10:32:35 GMT on July 9.

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

On January 10, 1994 Progress M-19 departed and Mir Principal Expedition 15 (Viktor Afanaseyev, Yuri Usachyov, Valeri Polyakov) arrived aboard Soyuz TM-18. Tsibliyev and Serebrov boarded Soyuz TM-17 on 14 January for the return home. Soyuz TM-17 struck Mir during the customary inspection fly-around prior to deorbit burn. Tsibliyev and Serebrov were conducting proximity operations with Mir. Among other things, they were photographing a NASA JSC-built docking target they had installed during one of their EVAs. They were unable to arrest Soyuz TM-17's forward movement because of an improperly set switch, and so struck Kristall two glancing blows with its descent module. The blows temporarily disabled Mir's orientation system. Masterful piloting by Tsibliyev prevented Soyuz TM-17 from striking Mir's antennas and solar arrays. After the incident, the EO-14 cosmonauts and ground controllers checked over Soyuz TM-17, while the EO-15 crew on Mir checked over Kristall. They found no damage. Normal Mir operations resumed, and Soyuz TM-17 made a normal re-entry.

Afanaseyev, Usachov, and Polyakov examined Kristall when they repositioned their spacecraft at the Mir forward port on 24 January. They detected no damage from the Soyuz TM-17 recontact. On 30 January Progress M-21 arrived at the station and remained docked until 23 March. Launch of Progress M-22 was delayed to March 22 from March 19 by heavy snowfall at Baikonur Cosmodrome. The rails used to transport Progress M-22 to its launch pad were covered in snowdrifts up to 7 m deep, so the spacecraft and booster could not be moved from their assembly building. The freighter finally docked with Mir on 23 March.

The week of March 28, Mir cosmonauts fired an electron beam gun at the Swedish Freja plasma and magnetospheric physics satellite to study space plasmas and Earth's magnetosphere. At the time Mir was 383 km above the Pacific, south of Alaska, while the 214-kg Freja satellite was 1770 km above the southeast Alaskan coast. A Canadian ground station monitored the test, which resembled one conducted on the STS-45 Space Shuttle mission (March 24-April 2, 1992).

Soyuz TM-19 arrived at Mir with the Principal Expedition 16 crew of Yuri Malenchenko and Talgat Musabayev on 3 July. Valeri Polyakov, who had arrived on Mir with the Principal Expedition 15 crew, remained aboard on his long-duration mission. The EO-15 crew returned uneventfully aboard Soyuz TM-18 on 9 July.

AKA: Derbent (Derbent - Russian city); Soyuz TM-18 (Afanasyev, Usachyov).
First Launch: 1994.01.08.
Last Launch: 1994.07.09.
Duration: 182.02 days.

More... - Chronology...


Associated People
  • Afanasyev Afanasyev, Viktor Mikhailovich (1948-) Russian test pilot cosmonaut. Flew on Mir EO-8, Mir EO-15, Mir EO-27, ISS EP-2. 555 cumulative days in space. Buran Test Pilot, 1985-1987. Transferred toTsPK, 1987. Call sign: Derbent (Derbent - Russian city) More...
  • Musabayev Musabayev, Talgat Amangeldyevich (1951-) Kazakh pilot cosmonaut. Flew on Mir EO-16, Mir EO-25, ISS EP-1. Transferred in 1991 Air Force Special Group. Russian Air Force More...
  • Usachyov Usachyov, Yuri Vladimirovich (1957-) Russian engineer cosmonaut. Flew on Mir EO-15, Mir EO-21, STS-101, ISS EO-2. 552 cumulative days in space. More...
  • Malenchenko Malenchenko, Yuri Ivanovich (1961-) Ukrainian pilot cosmonaut. Flew on Mir EO-16, STS-106, ISS EO-7, ISS EO-16. Call sign: Agat (Agate). 514 cumulative days in space. 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 EO-15 Chronology


1994 January 6 - .
  • Mir News 201: Soyuz-TM18 - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir EO-15; Mir EO-14; Mir LD-4. The launch of this ship with the relief crew of 3 will take place from Baykonur on 8.01.94 at 1005 UTC. If all goes according to schedule Soyuz-TM18 will dock to Mir on 10.01.94 at abt. 1148 UTC.

    Soyuz-TM17:

    The present Mir-crew (Tsibliyev and Serebrov) is already involved in activities related to their oncoming relief and their return to earth on 14.01.94. On 5.01.94 they remained on board of this ship for a long time to check systems and to look for areas in which they can stow things, which have to be returned to earth.

    Progress-M17:

    This freighter is still flying autonomously after the separation from Mir on 11.08.93. The Russians left Progress-M17 in space to check the lifetime of the systems due to the future use by the Americans of a Soyuz-TM modification as ACVR (rescue boat) for their space station. During a manoeuvre before Christmas the station came in a lower perigee (235 KM) due to a failure in the attitude control system. TsUP lost control over the freighter and they plan to have her decayed in the end of February this year. Probably this will happen spontaneously: the present orbital elements will lead to a decay at abt 28.03.94 (+ or - 3 days).

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


1994 January 8 - . 10:05 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz 11A511U2.
  • Soyuz TM-18 - . Call Sign: Derbent (Derbent - Russian city). Crew: Afanasyev; Polyakov; Usachyov. Backup Crew: Arzamazov; Malenchenko; Strekalov. Payload: Soyuz TM 11F732 s/n 67. Mass: 7,150 kg (15,760 lb). Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Afanasyev; Polyakov; Usachyov; Arzamazov; Malenchenko; Strekalov. Agency: MOM. Program: Mir. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Flight: Mir EO-15; Mir EO-14; Mir LD-4. Spacecraft: Soyuz TM. Duration: 182.02 days. Decay Date: 1994-07-09 . USAF Sat Cat: 22957 . COSPAR: 1994-001A. Apogee: 335 km (208 mi). Perigee: 244 km (151 mi). Inclination: 51.6000 deg. Period: 90.10 min. Summary: Mir Expedition EO-15. Docked at the Kvant module on January 10 at 11:15 GMT. Transported to the Mir orbital station of a crew comprising the cosmonauts V M Afanasev, Y V Usachev, and V V Polyakov for the fifteenth main expedition..

1994 January 9 - .
  • Mir News 202: Soyuz-TM18 blasted off for flight to Mir - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir EO-15; Mir EO-14; Mir LD-4. Soyuz-TM18 has been launched from Baykonur on 8.01.94 at 1005 UTC. All went well and at 1014 UTC Soyuz-TM18 had reached the right orbit. For the flight the 1st crew had been selected, so: Captain V. Afanasyev, who makes his 2d flight, board engineer (rookie) Yu. Usachev (pronunciation Usachov ) and the physician Dr. V. Polaykov, making his 2d flight. He will try to remain 427 days in space. The call of the crew is Derbent, so resp. Derbent-1, 2 and 3. For radio-amateur traffic resp. U9Mir, R3Mir and U3Mir. Soyuz-TM18 came in range during orbit 3, 1307 UTC. Strong transmissions on the known frequencies (121.750, 165.874 and 922.755 mc). Afanasyev reported that all went well and he added some pressure values. After abt. 30 mins Mir (orb. 45114) could be heard here. TsUP told the Mir-crew that all on board Soyuz-TM18 was normal. In the pass in the 4th orbit (1436 UTC) Afanasyev reported that the Soyuz-TM18 executed 2 orbit corrections without significant problems. During the pass in the 5th orbit (1609- UTC) Afanasyev reported the successful performance of Soyuz-TM18 during the 3d orbit correction. Afanasyev got the order to adjust the Globus position indicator and Dr. Polyakov stated that the condition of the crew was excellent. On 10.01.94 at 1150 UTC Soyuz-TM18 has to dock to the Mir-complex. This will be abt 4 mins. after LOS of the space objects in Mir's orbit nr. 45144.

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


1994 January 11 - .
  • Mir News 203: Soyuz-TM18 docked with the Mir-space station. - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir EO-15; Mir EO-14; Mir LD-4. On 10.01.94 at 1050 UTC Soyuz-TM18 docked to the Mir-station. Approach and docking took place in the automatic mode by the use of the system Kurs. During Mir's pass in orbit 45144 (1138-1147 UTC) the approach was going on. Afanasyev watched the behaviour of Soyuz-TM18 on his monitor. He had to be alert to take over manually, but this was not necessary. Soyuz-TM18 approached and docked smoothly. During the approach the transmitter of Mir and of the Soyuz-TM18 as well could be heard. During the pass in the next orbit (45145, 1315-1323 UTC) the hatch was opened and the enthusiastic welcome and greetings of both crews could be monitored. The following pass (orb. 45146, 1448-1459 UTC) Serebrov spoke a word of welcome and reported that mood and health of the newcomers were excellent. For Dr. Polyakov reason to gather blood samples from the cosmonauts to be able to confirm this scientifically.

    The 5 men will work together during the next 3 days and the old crew (Mir Main expedition nr. 14) will then hand over the station to the 15th Main expedition.

    On 14.01.1994 Tsibliyev and Serebrov will return to earth in the Soyuz-TM17.

    The 15th Main Expedition will last until 6.07.1994, so 177 days. Then Afanasyev and Usachev will be relieved by Malenchenko, Musabayev and Strekalov. Strekalov will return with the relieved crew. Dr. Polyakov will remain on board until spring 1995 (427 days) to conduct medical experiments aimed at the long-lasting flights to Mars.

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


1994 January 14 - .
1994 January 15 - .
  • Mir News 204: Soyuz-TM17 returned to earth - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir EO-15; Mir EO-14; Mir LD-4. On 14.01.1994 at 0819 UTC (08 hrs 18 mins 20 secs) the return capsule of the Soyuz-TM18 landed at 215 KM West of Karaganda in Kazakhstan. The cosmonauts (Tsibliyev and Serebrov) felt well after their flight of 197 days. They will be flown to Starcity near Moscow this afternoon. Again a routine-message about a routine-operation, but yet 'it has been a near thing' and nearly I had to draft a real shocking message!

    Return operation:

    At 0145 UTC the hatch of Soyuz-TM17 was closed behind Tsibliyev and Serebrov. At 0430 UTC the Soyuz-TM17 undocked from Mir. Tsibliyev had got orders to make a short inspection flight around the Mir-complex. They had to make images of the outer surface and they had to give special attention to the APAS89 docking system on Kristall (Module-T). In a distance of 30 Meters S- TM17 deviated from the desired course and collided with the Mir-station. Immediately radio contact with Soyuz-TM17 was lost. After 10 minutes TsUP managed to re-established radio contact with Soyuz-TM17 and the crew reported that their ship did not suffer damages and that the air-seal was still in good order. They also did not see any damages on the Mir-complex. Soyuz-TM17 made its last 2 orbits around the earth and the descent started at abt. 0715 UTC. At 0804 UTC the parachute opened and the 2-tonne heavy capsule made a safe landing at 08.18.20 UTC.

    Mir:

    The new crew (15th Main Expedition) immediately started observations through the portholes to try to determine eventual damages. During the passes in orbits 45206 (1100 UTC) and 45207 (1234 UTC) they transmitted to earth video-images which they made during the departure and fly-around of Soyuz-TM17. Shortly Afanasyev and Usachov will have to make a non-scheduled spacewalk to inspect the place, where Soyuz-TM17 hit the Mir- station. (probably near the APAS89 docking device on Kristall -Module-T).

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


1994 January 24 - .
  • Mir News 205: Soyuz-TM18 flown from aft to forward docking port - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir EO-15; Mir LD-4. Mir-station:

    This operation was on schedule for 21.01.94 but was put back to 24.01.94. Instead of a short operation (undocking, hovering until the complex turned 180 degrees and docking to the other port) TsUP decided to use the operation for an inspection of the whole complex to be sure that the collision of S- TM18 and the Kristall-module on 14.01.94 did not cause fatal damages. The whole crew went aboard the Soyuz-TM18 and undocked from the aft docking port at 0309 UTC and flew autonomously for a long time. At 0452 UTC Soyuz-TM18 docked to the forward (P.Kh.O.) docking port and remained on board of the Soyuz-TM18 until 0619 UTC. During the first pass of the complex within our range (orb. 45359, 0615 UTC) Usachov reported via 121.750 mc that Afanasyev had opened the hatch. During the long period between docking and entering the station the crew checked systems and airseal of compartments.

    Damage assessment during inspection flight:

    Apart from some negligible scratches in the area of the collision (on Kristall-module) no significant or fatal damages have been discovered. In a long communication session between TsUP and Mir via Altair (0855-0946 UTC) the crew extensively reported about that inspection and transmitted images to earth. Obviously it will not be necessary to insert an unscheduled spacewalk to inspect the outer surface of Kristall.

    Progress-M21: This freighter will be launched from Baykonur on 28.01.94 at 0212 UTC. Docking 2 days later to Mir's aft (Kvant) docking port on 30.01.94 at abt. 0300 UTC.

    Yevpatoriya: The tracking and communication facilities near Yevpatoriya and Simferopol on the Crimea are again operational for TsUP's control of the Mir-space station. On 20.01.94 (orb. 45300, 1137 UTC) the crew waited for communications via Yevpatoriya. Meanwhile this has been confirmed: the RKA and her Ukrainian counterpart have reached an agreement on the use of Ukrainian space facilities for Russian spaceflight.

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


1994 January 28 - . 02:12 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz 11A511U. LV Configuration: Soyuz 11A511U N15000-635.
  • Progress M-21 - . Payload: Progress M s/n 221. Mass: 7,130 kg (15,710 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: MOM. Program: Mir. Class: Manned. Type: Manned logistics spacecraft. Flight: Mir EO-15; Mir LD-4. Spacecraft: Progress M. Duration: 54.13 days. Completed Operations Date: 1994-03-21 05:24:50 . Decay Date: 1994-03-21 05:24:50 . USAF Sat Cat: 22975 . COSPAR: 1994-005A. Apogee: 236 km (146 mi). Perigee: 194 km (120 mi). Inclination: 51.6000 deg. Period: 88.50 min. Summary: Unmanned resupply vessel to Mir. Docked with Mir on 30 Jan 1994 03:56:13 GMT. Undocked on 23 Mar 1994 01:20:29 GMT. Destroyed in reentry on 23 Mar 1994 05:13:00 GMT. Total free-flight time 2.23 days. Total docked time 51.89 days..

1994 January 29 - .
  • Mir News 206: Progress-M21 launched - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir EO-15; Mir LD-4. The freighter Progress-M21 was launched from Baykonur on 28.01.94 at 0213 UTC. Already at 0514 UTC the transmissions of Progress-M21 on 166, 165 and 922.755 mc could be heard. During the rest of Progress-M21's passes within our range the transmitters worked continuously. Progress-M21 will deliver supplies, food, water, fuel, equipment, spare parts and post to the Mir-complex. Progress-M21 does not carry a VBK (ballistic return capsule). This crew (the 15th Main Expedition) will receive another 2 Progress-M-s. The first one, the Progress-M22, will start on 16 (or: 18) March 1994. Progress-M22 will not carry a VBK. Progress-M23 is on schedule for launch on 18 (or: 20) May 1994 and will have a VBK on board.

    Expected docking time of Progress-M21 to Mir:

    On 30.01.94 at abt. 0354 UTC Progress-M21 will dock to Mir's aft (Kvant-1) docking port. The approach and docking will be automatically with the system Kurs. Afanasyev will be standby with the TORU (tele-orientation and command regime) which might enable him to take over manually in case of a Kurs system failure.

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


1994 January 31 - .
  • Mir News 207: Progress-M21 docked to the Mir-space station - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir EO-15; Mir LD-4. On 30.01.94 at 0356 UTC (03 hrs 56 mins 14 secs) the freighter Progress-M21 docked to the aft (Kvant) docking port of the Mir-complex. Afanasyev did not have to use the TORU for the Progress-M21 approached and docked automatically with the system Kurs. During the pass in orb. 45452 (0520 UTC) checks of the airseal proved that all was in good order and Afanasyev opened the hatch to the freighter at 0524 UTC. During the next passes the crew reported their satisfaction about the state of the Progress-M21: all was clean and fresh and the people on earth had taken good care for the cargo.

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


1994 February 11 - .
  • Mir News 208: Mir again can be montiored - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir EO-15; Mir LD-4. For a period of almost a fortnight Mir passed over here during the night hours and this meant radio silence on 143.625 mc. Now we again can monitor traffic during the evening hours. 145.550 mc remained active all the time, mainly with Packet radio. During the first passes this week the Mir crew spoke with their colleagues Manarov (U2Mir), Volkov (U4Mir) and Artsebarskiy (U7Mir) in Russia and Tognini in France. These contacts were in the Russian language and they used their operational call sign 'Derbenty'. The 145.550 mc was also in use on board of the space shuttle Discovery (STS-60) during the flight of the Russian 'astronaut' Krikolyov, who got permission for the temporary use of his own call sign U5Mir. The contacts between Discovery and Mir took place out of our range. On 8.02.94 they communicated via TDRS-es and the first direct contact on VHF took place on 10.02.94. During the night and early morning of 10.02.94 both objects regularly passed within our range during overlaps of their footprints.

    Schedule for operations with Progress-M freighters:

    Progress-M22: Launch on 16.03.94, docking with Mir on 18.03.- 94. This freighter does not carry a VBK (ballistic return capsule). Progress-M21: Separation from Mir on 17.03.94 if Progress-M22 is in the right orbit and functioning normally. Progress-M21 has no VBK on board. Progress-M23: Launch on 18.03.94, docking to Mir at 20.04.94. This freighter carries a VBK. Progress-M22: Separation from Mir on 19.05.94 if all is going well with Progress-M23. A schedule for the freighters after Progress-23 has been published, but data might be subject to changes. The transport ship Soyuz-TM19, had to be launched on 24.06.94, but this launch has been put forward to 20.06.94, docking to Mir on 22.06.94. The first crew consisted of Malenchenko, Musabayev and Strekalov. Strekalov had to return with the relieved Afanasyev and Usachov after 12 days. Possibly Strekalov will fly with Soyuz-TM21 together with Dezhurov and an American cosmonaut on 01.03.95.

    American 'cosmonauts': 2 American astronauts had to arrive in Starcity near Moscow on one of these days to begin with their training for a flight as 'cosmonaut'. Due to technical reasons their departure has been postponed for 1 or 2 weeks.

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


1994 March 15 - .
  • Mir News 209: Launch Progress-M22 postponed - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir EO-15; Mir LD-4. This freighter was on schedule to be launched on 16 or 18.03. Due to very bad weather conditions (blizzards) the launch has been put back for a while. Possibly the exact date of launch will be published on 17.03.94.

    Fire on Baykonur: On 7.03.94 a heavy fire broke out in a MIK (Assembly and test complex) and spread to a Maintenance Unit Headquarters. There the fire damaged a Telemetry installation. The fire caused a damage of appr. 1.7 a 1.8 million dollars. The Russians declared that space-programs will not suffer from this event.

    Progress-M17: This freighter has been flying autonomously from 11.08.93 for a duration test of its systems. The Russians planned to leave the Progress-M17 in orbit for a year and a half on request by the Americans who want to use modified versions of the Soyuz-TM-ships for ACRV (assured crew return vehicle) for the space station Alpha. A test flight with a Progress-M was useful for a lot of systems of this freighter are the same as those of the Soyuz-TM. During an orbit manoeuvre in December 1993 something went wrong and the Progress-M17 came in a very low perigee from where it decayed naturally by burning up in the Earth's atmosphere on 3.03.94 at 0406 UTC

    Tracking ships: The tracking ship Cosmonaut Pavel Belyayev is floating somewhere in the Atlantic for the support of spaceflight operations which have nothing to do with the Mir-station. Nevertheless the ship now and then assists TsUP for communications with the Mir-station. This took place on 13.03- .94 at 2004 UTC and on 14.03.94 at 2045 UTC, so out of our range. We can expect that within due time we can hear Mir- radio traffic relayed by the KPB or one of the other ships.

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


1994 March 22 - . 04:54 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz 11A511U. LV Configuration: Soyuz 11A511U 76032992.
  • Progress M-22 - . Payload: Progress M s/n 222. Mass: 7,103 kg (15,659 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: MOM. Program: Mir. Class: Manned. Type: Manned logistics spacecraft. Flight: Mir EO-15; Mir LD-4. Spacecraft: Progress M. Duration: 61.99 days. Completed Operations Date: 1994-05-23 04:48:12 . Decay Date: 1994-05-23 04:48:12 . USAF Sat Cat: 23035 . COSPAR: 1994-019A. Apogee: 335 km (208 mi). Perigee: 260 km (160 mi). Inclination: 51.7000 deg. Period: 90.20 min. Unmanned resupply vessel to Mir. Launched into an initial 192 x 238 x 51.6 km orbit. Docked with Mir on 24 Mar 1994 06:39:37 GMT. Fired its engine around 15 May to raise the orbit of the Mir station from 381 x 400 km to 398 x 399 km. Undocked on 23 May 1994 00:58:38 GMT. Destroyed in reentry on 23 May 1994 04:40:00 GMT. Total free-flight time 2.23 days. Total docked time 59.76 days.

1994 March 23 - .
  • Mir News 210: Progress-M22 - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir EO-15; Mir LD-4. This freighter will be launched from Baykonur on 22.03.94 at 0454 UTC for a flight to the Mir-space station. This launch, originally planned for 16 or 18.03.94, has been postponed due to problems on Baykonur. Russians sources stated that meteorological conditions (blizzards) had forced them to put back the launch. On 7.03.94 a heavy fire broke out in the MIK (assembly- and test complex) for Progress-M-s and Soyuz-TM- s. The fire also effected a command centre. It was almost impossible to extinguish this fire due to the lack of water caused by one of those inclement blizzards.

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


1994 March 25 - .
  • Mir News 211: Progress-M22 launched - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir EO-15; Mir LD-4. The freighter Progress-M22 has been launched from Baykonur on 22.03- .94 at 0454 UTC. If all goes well the Progress-M22 will dock to Mir's aft (Kvant-1) docking port on 24.03.94 at abt. 0638 UTC. During some of the passes within our range the transmitters of Progress-M22 could be heard. During the pass from 0929-0931 UTC only in the 166 and 165 mc bands, from 1059-1105 UTC also the beacon on 922.755 mc transmitted. So the transmitters did not -as usual- transmit during all passes. TsUP stated that all systems worked without problems. TsUP emphasised that the delay of the launch (originally on schedule for 16 or 18.03.94) was caused by the blizzards and that the fire in MIK and a command centre on 7.03.94 had nothing to do with the delay. The blizzards buried the cosmodrome under snow dunes up to 6 meters high.

    Tracking ships: Now and then TsUP and Mir meet problems with the communications via the geostationary satellite Altair. Probably this is caused by malfunctions of the meanwhile worn out transceiver (Antares) on board Mir The tracking ship Cosmonaut Pavel Belyayev (KPB), somewhere in the Atlantic, regularly is involved in Mir-communications. On 23.03.94 from 1705-1714 UTC Mir and TsUP have a communication sched via KPB.

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


1994 March 26 - .
  • Mir News 212: Progress-M21 separated from the Mir-space station - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir EO-15; Mir LD-4. As of 30.01.94 this freighter occupied the aft (Kvant-1) docking port of the complex. To enable the new freighter, Progress-M22, to dock to that port Progress-M21 had to disappear. On 23.03.94 at 0118 UTC Progress-M21 undocked and flew its last flight as an independent satellite until 0432 UTC. At 0432 UTC Progress-M21's engine gave an impulse to bring her back in the atmosphere. Consequently she burnt up and decayed over the Pacific a few minutes later. Progress-M21 had no ballistic return capsule on board.

    Progress-M22 docked to the Mir-space station:

    Progress-M22 docked to the aft (Kvant-1) docking port of the complex on 24.03.94 at 0639 UTC. The docking took place just after LOS of Mir and Progress-M22 for my position. During the pass before the docking Mir's radio traffic on 143.625mc and Progress-M22's beacon on 922.755mc could be heard. Afanasyev reported data about the approach: the final approach, distance 59 M, approach speed 0.3M/sec, etc. Already during the next pass (orb. 46281, 0803 UTC) the hatch to Progress-M22 had been opened. Inside Progress-M22 all was clean and the crew -as always- enjoyed the nice smell of apples. Progress-M22 delivered to the complex food, water, fuel, post, spare parts and equipment for the maintenance of Mir's systems and additional equipment to be used by Dr. Polyakov for his medical experiments. If the Russians stick to the original schedule Progress-M22 will have to leave the aft docking port on 19.05.94 to enable her successor Progress-M23 to dock on 20.05.94. Progress-M22 does not have a VBK on board; Progress-M23 will carry a VBK.

    Baykonur: As of 22.03.94 Russian and Kazakhstan politicians and experts are gathered in Moscow for negotiations on a draft agreement about the right of Russia to use the cosmodrome Baykonur. Thus far it was impossible to reach consonance about the amount of money for the rent and the compensation for ecological damages caused by soviet space-activities over some decades. Russians are considering the possibility to reconstruct the base for ICBM's near Svobodnyy (East Siberiya, 51degr24min N, 128degr07min E.) into a cosmodrome to replace Baykonur. Yuriy Semyonov, Head of NPO 'Energiya', is against this idea: in his opinion Russia will loose its place as a leading space-power if Russia abandons Baykonur. Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202


1994 May 10 - .
  • Mir News 213: Mir-operations - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir EO-15; Mir LD-4. After the docking of Progress-M22 to the Mir-station the passes gradually shifted to the night hours. Meanwhile Mir passes take place again during the day hours, which means that regularly radio traffic can be heard. In this stage of the Mir- mission there is not too much to report: just routine matters and the well-known experiments: measurements of the flows of elementary charged particles by the Mariya-spectrometer and x- ray and gamma radiation by spectrometers in the Kvant-1 module. The crew shot a lot of video- and photo-images of the earth on request by geologists en ecologists. Polyakov continues his medical experiments. On 9.05.94 the crew made films of heavy fires along the frontier of Siberia and Mongolia. During passes in which Mir is in contact with TsUP often only Afanasyev is heard. Sometimes, but not as much as Afanasyev, Polyakov and Usachov communicate with TsUP. Daily routine for the crew still remains the functioning of the water regeneration systems, about the SRV-U -distillation of water from urine- they daily have discussions with TsUP.

    Baykonur: After long and difficult negotiations Russia and Kazakhstan reached an agreement about the use by Russia of Baykonur and Leninsk. Russia has to pay a rent of 115 million. US-dollars a year for a period of 20 years and the option for a prolongation by another 10 years. Russia can act in Baykonur and Leninsk as if it was Russian territory. Let us hope that the agreement puts an end to the uncertainties for Russian and future users of the cosmodrome and to the vexations and confiscation of vital materials by the Kazakhstan authorities.

    Soyuz-TM19: This transport ship will be launched from Baykonur on 24.06.94 with the crew for the 16th Main Expedition to Mir. The first crew consists of Musabayev and Malenchenko, both rookies. Musabayev is from Kazakhstan, but the Russians stressed that he will fly just because he is a good cosmonaut and not to please Kazakhstan. On 4.04.94 the State commission decided to exclude Strekalov from that flight. He was on schedule for the Russians use to add an experienced cosmonaut to a crew with only rookies. So for the first time in many years a Soyuz-ship will fly with only rookies on board. The reason for the exclusion of Strekalov is economical: his seat will be used for an extra amount of cargo (85 KG). Strekalov is still in the race for he will fly during the 1995 program. He will then be 'ferried' to Mir by the space shuttle Atlantis. To get the training as an 'astronaut' he will arrive in the USA one of these days.

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


1994 May 17 - .
  • Mir News 214: Mir-operations - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir EO-15; Mir LD-4. On 16.05.94 the engines of the Progress-M22, still docked to the Mir-space station, corrected the orbit of the complex. The orbit on appr. 400 KM is almost fully circular now. Kepler elements earlier than 16.05.94 cannot be used any longer. Herewith the 2-line elements for day 137: 137.63180416 0.00005592 51.6463 339.1528 .0001314 282.2347 77.8458 15.56018306 47128. Progress-M23: The launch of this freighter has been put back until 22.05.94 at abt. 0425 UTC. If all will go according to plan we can for the first time monitor the transmissions of Progress-M23 that day at abt. 0725 UTC on the freq.-s 922.755, 166.140, 166.130 and 165.873 mc. Progress-M23 will have a VBK (ballistic return capsule) on board.

    The docking of Progress-M23 to the Mir-complex is scheduled for 24.05.94 at abt. 0617 UTC, so 4 minutes after LOS (Loss of signal) for our position.

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


1994 May 22 - . 04:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz 11A511U. LV Configuration: Soyuz 11A511U 76024355.
  • Progress M-23 - . Payload: Progress M s/n 223. Mass: 7,117 kg (15,690 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: MOM. Program: Mir. Class: Manned. Type: Manned logistics spacecraft. Flight: Mir EO-15; Mir LD-4. Spacecraft: Progress M. Duration: 41.44 days. Decay Date: 1994-07-02 . USAF Sat Cat: 23114 . COSPAR: 1994-031A. Apogee: 399 km (247 mi). Perigee: 397 km (246 mi). Inclination: 51.6000 deg. Period: 92.52 min. Unmanned resupply vessel to Mir, with Raduga return capsule. Docked with Mir on 24 May 1994 06:18:35 GMT. Undocked on 2 Jul 1994 08:46:49 GMT. The braking engine was ignited at 14:44 GMT, and the Raduga VBK reentry capsule was ejected at 14:55:45 GMT. The Progress burnt up in the atmosphere at 14:57 GMT. The Raduga deployed its parachute after reentry and landed on 2 Jul 1994 15:09:00 GMT at 51 deg 41 min N, 59 deg 21 min E, in the Orenburg region. Total free-flight time 2.34 days. Total docked time 39.10 days.

1994 May 25 - .
  • Mir News 215: Progress-M23 - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir EO-15; Mir LD-4. This freighter has been launched from Baykonur on 22.05.94 at 0430 UTC. During the first pass for our position the transmitters of Progress-M23 did not work possibly due to the fact that Yevpatoria still does not participate in the tracking activities of TsUP. During orbit 4 the transmissions on 166, 165 and 922mc could be monitored over here. Progress-M23 carries more than 2000 KG cargo for the Mir- complex, i.e. fuel, food, water, post, equipment and experiments. In contradiction to her predecessor this Progress-M also carries a VBK (ballistic return capsule).

    Progress-M22: This freighter had to free the aft (Kvant-1) docking port for the Progress-M23. After TsUP was sure about the good functioning of all systems of Progress-M23 Progress-M22 could be separated from Mir for decay in the atmosphere. The undocking took place on 23.05.94 at 0057 UTC and after some hours Progress-M22 burnt up over the Pacific.

    Progress-M23 docked to the Mir-station on 24.05.94 at 0619 UTC. During the first pass, in which the approach of Progress-M23 to Mir was in its final stage, there was no radio traffic on VHF (possibly again due to the absence of the Yevpatoriya- facilities). For communications TsUP used the Ku-bands of the Altair satellite. During the 2d pass (orb. 47232, 0745-0751- UTC) Polyakov reported from Mir's central post that Afanasyev and Usachov already were near the opened hatch to the Progress-M23. They had followed the safety recommendations of TsUP (for instance the use of protection glasses). The Progress-M23 was clean and already had given the whole complex a higher pressure to 717mm. The crew enjoyed the fresh air with the smell of fruits. Afanasyev reported that all was well. Launch date Soyuz-TM19 possibly put back:

    There are circulating messages about a possible change of the launch date of Soyuz-TM19, thus far on schedule for 24.06.94. These messages are not equal: there might be a delay until 20.07.94, but the Russians did not confirm this. They admitted that there are discussions about a possible delay, but if so the launch will take place not mare than 2 weeks later. The discussions are still going on.

    Yevpatoriya: For a short period in the beginning of 1994 this station could be used by the Russians for TsUP- Mir communications. During the flight of the Soyuz-TM18 the station could be used due to a provisional agreement between the RKA and her Ukrainian counterpart. Regretfully this probably only worked for a short period. Tough negotiations between Russia and the Ukraine were going on about this matter and the present problems on the Crimea certainly will not make the negotiations easier. Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202


1994 June 25 - .
  • Mir News 216: Soyuz-TM19 - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir EO-15; Mir LD-4. The launch of this ship had been put back several times due to problems with the production of the fairing for the protection of Soyuz-TM19 during the first phase of the launch. Now this launch from Baykonur is on schedule for 1.07.94 at abt. 1224 UTC. If all goes well Soyuz-TM19 will dock to the Mir- complex (aft, Kvant-2 docking port) 2 days later. This ship will ferry the relief crew, Malenchenko and Musabayev, to Mir. On 9.07.94 the present crew Afanasyev and Usachov will return to earth with the Soyuz-TM18. Dr. Polyakov will remain on board to reach a place in the Guiness Book of Records after a stay of 429 days in space.

    Kazakhstan insists upon the fact that Musabayev will make his spaceflight as a representative of Kazakhstan for he is a native of that country. The Russians agreed with that, but told Kazakhstan that this means that Musabayev will fly as a foreign guest cosmonaut and that Kazakhstan has to pay for that just like western countries have to pay for their cosmonauts. Kazakhstan cannot afford this.

    Progress-M23: Before Soyuz-TM19 can dock to the aft docking port the freighter Progress-M23 has to undock from there. If all goes well on board Soyuz-TM19 after launch Progress-M23 will separate from Mir on 2.07.94. The return capsule (VBK) of Progress-M23 has to make a soft landing somewhere in Kazakhstan.

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


1994 July 1 - .
  • Mir News 217: Soyuz-TM19 launched for flight to Mir - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir EO-15; Mir LD-4. Soyuz-TM19 started from Baykonur on 1.07.94 at 1224 UTC.

    Soyuz-TM19 has a crew of two: Yuriy Malenchenko and Tolgat Musabayev. For a long time the status of this flight was unknown: Musabayev's native country is Kazakhstan, but he was supposed to fly as an officer of the Russian airforce. Now the flight has been announced as a Russian-Kazakh expedition. Russia paid for the preparations and Kazakhstan will pay a contribution for Musabayev's activities on board Mir. All went well during the launch and the first day of the flight. The cosmonauts use the call sign Agat-1 and Agat-2. The crew has no problems with micro-gravity and space sickness. During the 3d orbit at 1527 UTC the ship came in our range. Malenchenko reported that all was going according to plan and the results were positive. The pressure of the atmosphere on board was 803 mm. Already during the next pass (orb. 4, 1656 UTC) Malenchenko reported the first 2 orbit corrections accomplished as needed and without any problems. During the following pass (orb. 5, 1837 UTC) Malenchenko announced that the 3d orbit correction would take place at 18 hrs 47mins and 45 secs UTC. As usual during such flights: radio contact with TsUP on 121.- 750 mc and telemetry and beacons on 166, 165 and 922.755 mc.

    Progress-M23: As soon as TsUP was sure that all went well with Soyuz-TM19 the undocking of Progress-M23 was possible and took place on 2.07.94 at 0841 UTC. The landing of the VBK (ballistic return capsule) had to take place on 2.07.94 at 1500 UTC at 150 KM North East of the town Orsk, within Russian territory, so no need to pay import duties.

    Estimated docking day and time of Soyuz-TM19 with Mir:

    3.07.94 at 1404 UTC, so just after LOS for us after the first pass of Mir and Soyuz-TM19 for our position.

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


1994 July 1 - . 12:24 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz 11A511U2.
  • Soyuz TM-19 - . Call Sign: Agat (Agate ). Crew: Malenchenko; Musabayev. Backup Crew: Dezhurov; Strekalov. Payload: Soyuz TM 11F732 s/n 68. Mass: 7,150 kg (15,760 lb). Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Malenchenko; Musabayev; Dezhurov; Strekalov. Agency: MOM. Program: Mir. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Flight: Mir EO-16; Mir EO-15; Mir LD-4. Spacecraft: Soyuz TM. Duration: 125.95 days. Decay Date: 1994-11-04 . USAF Sat Cat: 23139 . COSPAR: 1994-036A. Apogee: 397 km (246 mi). Perigee: 396 km (246 mi). Inclination: 51.6000 deg. Period: 92.49 min. Summary: Mir Expedition EO-16. Soyuz TM-19 docked at the rear port of the Kvant module (vacated by Progress M-23 on July 2) at 13:55:01 GMT on July 3..

1994 July 3 - .
  • Mir News 218: Soyuz-TM19 docked to Mir-space station - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir EO-16; Mir EO-15; Mir LD-4. Soyuz-TM19 docked to the aft docking port (Kvant-1) on 3.07.94 at 1355 UTC, so 9 minutes earlier than planned. Approach and docking took place in the automatic mode by the system Kurs. So during the pass in orb. 47859, 1355-1402 UTC, the docking just took place. By monitoring Altair OM Peter could determine the right docking time meanwhile confirmed by TsUP. During the 2d pass (orb. 47860, 1527 UTC) the crew for the 16th Main expedition already had joined their predecessors inside Mir itself. During radio contact with the tracking ship Kosmonavt Pavel Belyayev in the 3rd pass (orb. 47861, 1704 UTC) Talgat Musabayev told that he was very pleased to be on board and that he did not suffer from adaptation problems at all. He also stated that he does not have any problems with the status of this flight: Russian, Russian-Kazakh, CIS or international. He considers himself to be a representative of all human beings on earth. He also emphasised that nothing can hamper the good friendship between the Russian an Kazakh people (let us hope this also applies to the politicians!).

    16th Main expedition to Mir:

    This mission consists of the new crew together with Doctor Polyakov. Malenchenko and Musabayev will return to earth on 2.11.94. Together with the new enthusiastic cosmonauts Soyuz-TM19 delivered to Mir hard- and software for experiments during the Euromir 94 mission of Merbold in October this year. In September 1994 Mal. and Mus. have to make 4 EVA (spacewalks) aimed at the transfer of the solar panels from Kristall to Kvant-1, maintenance and inspections of the outer surface of the complex and the replacement of containers (among other things the American Trek-experiment) with experiments exposed to open space.

    Soyuz-TM18: The relieved crew (Afanasyev and Usachov) will return to earth by this ship on 9.07.94.

    Progress-M23: This freighter undocked from Mir on 2.07.94 at 0841 UTC and decayed in the earth's atmosphere the same day. Just before decay it jettisoned the VBK (ballistic return capsule) which made a safe landing within Russian territory 150 KM N.E. of the town Orsk at 1508 UTC.

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


1994 July 9 - .
  • Mir News 219: Soyuz-TM18 safely landed in Kazakhstan. - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir EO-16; Mir EO-15; Mir LD-4. The relieved cosmonauts Afanasyev and Usachov landed with the Descent Module of the Soyuz-TM18 at 100 KM NE of Arkalyk on 9.07.- 94 at 1033 UTC. Radio traffic of Soyuz-TM18 during the descent -also the ANAN aiming beacon- could be monitored via Altair until 1020 UTC. Immediately after the landing the cosmonauts boarded an aircraft for a non-stop flight to Star City near Moscow.

    Mir: 2 days ago the command of the Mir-complex was handed over by Afanasyev to Malenchenko. From this moment on the call sign of Polyakov changed from Derbent-3 to Agat-3.

    Soyuz-TM19: This ship is still docked to the aft (Kvant-1) docking port of the Mir-complex. Contrary to the normal practice this ship will remain there, so no redocking from the aft to the forward docking port has been planned. One of the reasons may be the future operations with modules like Module- T (Kristall), Spektr and Priroda.

    Progress-M24: Thus far the launch of this freighter is still on schedule for 13.07.94.

    Tracking ships: On 8.07.94 the tracking ship Kosmonavt Pavel Belyayev moored in the port of Antwerp. A few hours later I visited the ship for a long interview with the Chief of the Expedition of KPB. I was able to follow the movements of the ship and to determine her destination by monitoring radio traffic between the ship and the Mir-station. The chief answered a lot of questions regarding the fate and future of the famous fleet of tracking ships. The KPB is now on her way to Sankt Peterburg. A ship to take over her task in the Atlantic did not show up but remained in Sankt Peterburg due to budget problems.

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


1994 July 9 - .
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