Encyclopedia Astronautica
Mir EO-16



imir16.jpg
Mir EO-16
Credit: www.spacefacts.de - www.spacefacts.de
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Mir EO-16
Credit: www.spacefacts.de - www.spacefacts.de
Crew: Malenchenko, Musabayev. 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. Soyuz TM-19 undocked from Mir at 07:29 GMT on November 4. The Soyuz instrument module (PAO, priborno-agregatniy otsek) fired its deorbit engine, and was jettisoned together with the orbital module (BO, bitovoy otsek) at 10:51 GMT, with entry interface for the descent module (SA, spuskaemiy apparat) at 10:54. It landed 170 km north-east of Arkalyk in Kazakhstan on 1994 November 4 at 11:18 GMT. Backup crew: Viktorenko, Kondakova.

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. Soyuz TM-19 undocked from Mir at 07:29 GMT on November 4. The Soyuz instrument module (PAO, priborno-agregatniy otsek) fired its deorbit engine, and was jettisoned together with the orbital module (BO, bitovoy otsek) at 10:51 GMT, with entry interface for the descent module (SA, spuskaemiy apparat) at 10:54. It landed 170 km north-east of Arkalyk in Kazakhstan on 1994 November 4 at 11:18 GMT.

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

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.

Progress M-24 arrived at Mir on 27 August but ran into problems. The freighter's first automatic docking attempt failed. During the second attempt, on August 30, Progress M-24 bumped into Mir's forward longitudinal port two to four times at low speed, then drifted away. The Agat crew was running low on supplies, so the Russians gave consideration to mothballing Mir in late September in the event Progress M-24 could not dock. Ground controllers stated that the station had sufficient propellant to operate in unmanned mode for 4 months. On September 2 Malenchenko took manual control of Progress M-24 using a control panel on Mir. A TV on Mir displayed an image of the station's front port transmitted from cameras on Progress M-24; the same image appeared on screens in the TsUP. In an impressive demonstration of remote piloting, Malenchenko docked Progress M-24 without additional incident. The technique had been tested using Progress M-15 and Progress M-16 during Principal Expedition 13 (1993).

Malenchenko and Musabayev opened the Kvant 2 EVA airlock outer hatch on September 9 to begin humanity's 100th spacewalk. During the spacewalk, which lasted 5 hr, 4 min, they inspected the docking port struck by Progress M-24—it proved to be undamaged—and mended a thermal blanket torn when Soyuz TM-17 struck the station on January 14. They also prepared equipment for moving the Kristall solar arrays to Kvant, and affixed test materials to Mir's exterior.

On September 14 cosmonauts Musabayev and Malenchenko carried out assembly work connected with the ongoing effort to move Kristall's solar arrays to supports on Kvant. They also inspected the Sofora girder. The EVA lasted 6 hr, 1 min.

On 6 October, 1994, Mir Principal Expedition 17 (Alexandr Viktorenko and Yelena Kondakova) arrived at Mir together with ESA astronaut Ulf Merbold aboard Soyuz TM-20, Valeri Polyakov was again to remain aboard on his record duration flight. During final approach, Soyuz TM-20 yawed unexpectedly. He assumed manual control and completed docking without incident. Kondakova, the mission rookie, was the third Russian female cosmonaut and the first female to take part in a longduration flight. Ulf Merbold was a physicist and veteran of two U.S. Space Shuttle missions. The month-long Euromir 94 experiment program was considered a precursor to the ESA Columbus module planned for the joint U.S.-Russia-ESA-Japan-Canada space station. Merbold's program was planned rapidly, final agreement between ESA and Russian having been concluded in November 1992. It was also constrained by funding limitations—ESA budgeted only about $60 million for Euromir 94. Because of these limitations, Merbold relied heavily on equipment left on Mir by earlier French, Austrian, and German visitors to the station, as well as the Czech-built CSK-1 materials processing furnace. He also used equipment delivered by Progress M-24 and Soyuz TM-20. Merbold's experiment program included 23 life sciences, 4 materials sciences, and 3 technology experiments.

On October 11 the six cosmonauts aboard Mir were unable to activate a video camera and TV lights while recharging Soyuz TM-20's batteries. A short circuit had disabled the computer which guided Mir's solar arrays, forcing the station to drain its batteries. The cosmonauts used reaction control thrusters on the Soyuz TM-spacecraft docked to the station to orient it so its solar arrays would point toward the Sun, and switched on a backup computer. Normal conditions were restored by October 15. According to Yuri Antoshechkin, Deputy Flight Director for Mir Systems, speaking in December at JSC, the shortage afflicted only the Mir core module. Antoshechkin stated through an interpreter that unspecified minor crew error, coupled with a long period out of contact with monitors in the TsUP (caused by Altair/SR relay satellite "prophylactic work") during a crew sleep period, contributed to the base block discharging its batteries unnoticed, and that an automatic alarm awakened the crew when the power shortage reached a critical level.

Ground teams rescheduled Merbold's experiments to allow completion of those interrupted by the power problems, and moved experiments using large amounts of electricity to the end of Merbold's stay. In addition, the Czech-built CSK-1 furnace malfunctioned, forcing postponement of five of Merbold's experiments until after his return to Earth.

On November 3 Malenchenko, Musabayev, and Merbold undocked in Soyuz TM-19 and withdrew to a distance of 190 m. They then activated its Kurs system, which successfully guided the spacecraft to an automatic docking with Mir's aft port. The cosmonauts then went back into Mir. The test was a response to the Progress M-24 docking problems. If it had failed, the Soyuz TM-19 cosmonauts would have made an emergency return to Earth.

The Space Shuttle Atlantis lifted off from Kennedy Space Center on an 11-day atmospheric research mission on November 3. French astronaut Jean-Francois Clervoy was aboard as a mission specialist. In remarks made after Atlantis' launch, ESA Director-General Jean- Marie Luton stated that there was "a French astronaut flying on an American Space Shuttle to perform experiments from U.S., French, German, and Belgian scientists....Meanwhile, on Russia's Mir space station, ESA astronaut Ulf Merbold is completing a month-long mission, the longest in European spaceflight. By the end of the decade, this level of cooperation will be routine aboard the international space station."

On November 4 Merbold again squeezed into the Soyuz- TM 19 descent module, together with the EO-16 crew of Malenchenko and Musabayev, and 16 kg of the life sciences samples he collected during his stay on the station. Additional samples -- including materials processing samples to be produced when the Principal Expedition 17 cosmonauts carry out the experiments Merbold was to have conducted during his stay -- were to be returned to Earth by Space Shuttle Atlantis in mid-1995. Soyuz TM-19 undocking, deorbit burn, reentry, and landing occurred without significant incident.

AKA: Agat (Agate ); Soyuz TM-19.
First Launch: 1994.07.01.
Last Launch: 1994.11.04.
Duration: 125.95 days.

More... - Chronology...


Associated People
  • Merbold Merbold, Dr Ulf Dietrich (1941-) German physicist payload specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-9, STS-42, Mir Euromir 94. More...
  • Viktorenko Viktorenko, Aleksandr Stepanovich (1947-) Russian pilot cosmonaut. Flew on Mir EP-1, Mir EO-5, Mir EO-11, Mir EO-17. 489 cumulative days in space. Call sign: Vityaz (Knight). 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...
  • Kondakova Kondakova, Yelena Vladimirovna (1957-) Russian engineer cosmonaut. Flew on Mir EO-17, STS-84. Engineer, first Russian woman to fly in space for other than propaganda reasons. Was married to astronaut Valeriy Ryumin. Civilian Engineer, Energia NPO 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-16 Chronology


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 - .
1994 July 17 - .
  • Mir News 220: Progress-M24 - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir EO-16; Mir LD-4. The launch of this freighter has been put back. Originally 2 Progress-M's had to be launched in the period July/August 1994. The Russians had to give up one of the Progress-Ms for economical reasons. Now the Progress-M24 is on schedule to be launched on 24.08.94. Progress-M24 will deliver the normal cargo to the Mir-complex plus the equipment to be used by an European cosmonaut (Ulf Merbold or Pedro Duque) during the EuroMir94 mission in October 1994.

    Soyuz-TM19: This ship is still docked to the aft (Kvant-1) port of the Mir-station. Contrary to the normal practice S- TM19 will not be redocked to the forward (PKhO) docking port of the complex.

    EuroMir94: The Soyuz-TM20 with on board the relief crew (Viktorenko and Kondakova or the stand-in crew Gidzhenko and Avdeyev) with an ESA-cosmonaut (Ulf Merbold or Pedro Duque) is on schedule for launch on 3.10.94. The European cosmonaut will remain on board Mir for a period of 30 days. The training of the crews takes place in Starcity near Moscow as well as in the European Astronaut Centre of ESA in Cologne. In Moscow they have to study the Russian language and to get familiar with the Soyuz-TM and the Mir-space station and its modules and in Cologne the training is aimed at the European experiments, which for the greater part will cover life-sciences, i.e. monitoring the human body in microgravity conditions.

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


1994 July 25 - .
  • Mir News 221: Russian spaceflight tracking ships. - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir EO-16; Mir LD-4. Until 1992 the fleet of tracking ships consisted of ten ships. These ships formed a part of the infrastructure of control centres and measurement points for soviet spaceflight operations. In this case the word 'operations' covers a wide variety for the assistance of the manned spaceflight program was only a small part of their duties. The role of the ships, as far as manned spaceflight was concerned, sharply deteriorated after the beginning of the use of geostationary satellites for communications between the Salyut-7 and the Mir-space stations. The TDRS system used by the Russians did not always work satisfactorily and so all experts involved in Russian spaceflight expected that the 'ships' would remain operational at least until 2000. Already in 1990 there circulated rumours about the a gradual withdrawal of that fleet, but nobody dared to take the responsibility. However the economical problems in the last year of the S.U. forced the Russians to withdraw most of the ships from service and as of January 1st 1992 the ships in the Atlantic apart from some modest exceptions ceased to assist during Mir-operations. Sometimes a ship was operational in the Atlantic to assist space-operations for other objects and organisations and now and then had to be stand-by during Mir-operations (launches of Progresses, Soyuzes, dockings, return operations, EVA's a.s.o.), but always on a secondary basis. For the last half year the Kosmonavt Pavel Belyayev operated from a position west of Africa and even played an important role during the almost fatal flight of Soyuz-TM17 on 14.01.94. After some bumps of the Soyuz-TM17 into the Mir-station the communications via the Altair (Cosmos-2054) ceased and this caused great concern at TsUP. KPB was the first to pick up radio traffic from the Soyuz-TM17 and thus shortened the awful uncertainty phase at TsUP by 10 minutes. In the past the ships relayed traffic between Mir and TsUP via Molniya satellites during the first part of Mir's footprint for our position. Nowadays the traffic between Mir and TsUP only begins at TCA for our position. The fate of the fleet: the ships belonged to the Soviet (now Russian) Academy of Sciences. The maritime part fell under the responsibility of the Baltic- and Black sea shipping. The ships which have home ports in the Ukraine (the Kosmonavt Yuriy Gagarin and the Akademik Sergey Korolyov) now belong to that country and so their role in spaceflight fully ceased. The ships made some trips for tourists, but that was not successful. Both ships have been used to evacuate Russian military personnel and their families from Cuba to St. Petersburg. From there they returned to their Ukrainian ports. The Ukraine does not know what to do with the ships and tried to sell them to the Russians. The Russians were not interested: they still have 4 ships for the Western Hemisphere and a 5th one is under construction. Spaceflight needs over the Pacific are covered by 2 ships of the Russian Navy, the Marshal Nedelin and the Marshal Krylov. The Odessa based Kosmonavt Vladimir Komarov already before the independence of the Ukraine was transferred to Leningrad to be refurbished for other purposes: ecological expeditions in the Baltic and the North Atlantic. Thus far this plan did not work: the attempts to use the ship for that purposes on a commercial base did not have success due to the lack of customers. So in St Petersburg we have 4 ships: the Kosmonavt Pavel Belyayev, the Kosmonavt Vladislav Volkov, the Kosmonavt Viktor Patsayev and the Kosmonavt Georgiy Dobrovolskiy. They are waiting for an assignment. Possibly one of them will be used in the Atlantic west of Africa in October and November 1994 to assist during the launch and docking of Soyuz-TM20 (resp. 3 and 5.10.94) and the return flight of the Soyuz-TM19 on 3.11.94. A new ship, the Akademik Nikolay Pilyugin, has already been launched and has to be fitted. Thus far it is not known whether this new ship will influence the fate of 1 or more ships of the 4 in St Peterburg. After the last expedition the Belyayev several times had contact with the crew of the Mir-complex. From this traffic I could derive the indication that the ship planned to visit Antwerp in Belgium. This enabled me to go on board and I had a long and interesting conversation with the chief of the expedition, Nikolay Burov and the captain Sivtsov. In spite of the enormous economical difficulties of their country their hospitality towards me was 100%.

    (This Mir-report is derived from the reports in Dutch 221 and 222. So the next Mir-report in English will be MirNEWS.223)

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


1994 July 30 - .
  • Mir News 222: Radio-amateur information - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir EO-16; Mir LD-4. Info for Radio-amateurs trying to make QSO's with Mir:

    On 30 July 1994 during pass in orbit nr. 48273 Musabayev asked TsUp to inform Sergey Samburov that the power unit of the transceiver for Radio-amateurism is out of order. The last time I monitored traffic on 145.550 Mc from Mir was on 27 July 1994 during the passes in orbits 48226 and 48227 when Polyakov (U3Mir) tried to make a QSO with Francis in France and with OE1AKB.

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


1994 August 16 - .
  • Mir News 223: Mir-operations - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir EO-16; Mir LD-4. These days Mir's passes for our position take place during the night-hours. During the Perseid meteorite streams no nightly radio-traffic on VHF, so obviously nothing happened. This in contradiction to the same period in 1993 when several particles collided with the Mir-station. In a few days we can expect radio traffic during the evening hours again.

    PROGRESS-M24: This freighter will be launched from Baykonur on 25.08.94 at 1425 UTC. If all goes according to the plan listeners in Western-Europe can receive radio signals on the known frequencies (166.140, 166.130, 165.874 and 922.755 + or - for Doppler) 3 hours later.

    Spacewalks (EVA-s): Instead of 4 only 2 EVA's will be made by Malenchenko and Musabayev. These EVA-s are scheduled for 8 and 12.09.94. Purpose: transfer of solar panels from Kristall to Kvant-1.

    SPEKTR: The launch of this Module-O has been put back again. Now there is word that the launch will take place in may 1995. Undoubtedly this will also mean that the launch of Priroda (Module-E) will be put back either.

    American flights to Mir: The schedule for these flights might be changed due to the delay of the launch of Spektr. No further details yet.

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


1994 August 25 - .
  • Mir News 224: Progress-M24 - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir EO-16; Mir LD-4. A Soyuz carrier with the freighter Progress-M24 blasted off from Baykonur on 25.08.94 at 1425 UTC. The Progress-M24 has to deliver to the Mir-space station food, water, fuel, post for the crew, spare parts and equipment for repairs, also for the radio-amateur installation, and experiments to be used during the Euromir94 expedition in October this year. The Progress-M24 does NOT carry a VBK (ballistic return capsule). The telemetry- and beacon transmitters in the 166, 165 and 922 Mc bands could be monitored here during the passes in the 2d, 3d and 4th orbit. The estimated docking time with Mir is on 27.08.94 at 1601 UTC, so appr. 5 minutes after LOS of Mir's pass in orbit 48715. Progress-M24 will have to dock at the forward (PKhO) docking port.

    Recently the cosmonauts checked the system TORU (teleorientation and guidance) obviously to be ready to guide Progress-M24 manually from Mir during the approach and docking if necessary.

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


1994 August 25 - . 14:25 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz 11A511U. LV Configuration: Soyuz 11A511U N15000-636.
  • Progress M-24 - . Payload: Progress M s/n 224. Mass: 7,250 kg (15,980 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: MOM. Program: Mir. Class: Manned. Type: Manned logistics spacecraft. Flight: Mir EO-16; Mir LD-4. Spacecraft: Progress M. Duration: 40.35 days. Completed Operations Date: 1994-10-04 22:41:48 . Decay Date: 1994-10-04 22:41:48 . USAF Sat Cat: 23215 . COSPAR: 1994-052A. Apogee: 397 km (246 mi). Perigee: 394 km (244 mi). Inclination: 51.6000 deg. Period: 92.47 min. Unmanned resupply vessel to Mir. Failed to dock with Mir on 27 Aug 1994. A second automatic docking attempt on 30 Aug 1994 also failed and the Progress collided with the Kvant module. A third and final attempt, manually controlled by Mir commander Yuriy Malenchenko, was successful on 2 Sep 1994 13:30:28 GMT. The Mir commander and flight engineer, Yuriy Malenchenko and Talgat Musabaev, made a spacewalk on 9 Sep 1994 to inspect the damage to the Kvant module made when the Progress collided with Kvant. Undocked on 4 Oct 1994 18:55:52 GMT, leaving the rear docking port free for Soyuz TM-20. Destroyed in reentry over the Pacific at 38.4 deg S, 137.4 deg W,on 4 Oct 1994 22:43:00 GMT. Total free-flight time 8.12 days. Total docked time 32.23 days.

1994 August 27 - .
  • Mir News 225: Progress-M24 - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir EO-16; Mir LD-4. During the preparations for the docking of this freighter to the Mir-complex something seemed to be wrong with some systems of that ship. TsUP decided to discontinue the approach-procedure and to maintain Progress-M24 in an autonomous status for the time being. A commission is investigating the causes of the problem and must to decide when a second docking attempt will be made. Probably this will last 3 or more days.

    Radio traffic: The fact that there might be something wrong could be derived from TV-images received via Altair by our good friend Peter and from the radio traffic thereafter. In the period in which the 'final approach' was planned the crew changed the orientation of the Mir-complex to get better visual observations of the 'naughty' Progress-M24. The transmitters of the Progress-M24 in the 922, 166 and 165 Mc bands transmitted continuously. During the 2d pass of the Mir-station (orb. 48716, 1725-1735 UTC) Progress-M24 still flew autonomously and from the radio traffic between Mir and TsUP could be derived that the cosmonauts tried to observe Progress-M24 visually. Progress-M24 flew a few kilometres (2.7 a 1.5) ahead of Mir on the same altitude. Visual observations: In those part of the Netherlands and UK where the sky was clear Mir and Progress-M24 could be seen flying separately from each other during Mir's orb. nr. 48718, 2038- 2046 UTC. The 'small' star Progress-M24 flew 6 seconds ahead of the 'huge' star Mir. TCA Progress-M24: 204051 UTC, TCA Mir: 204057 UTC.

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


1994 August 31 - .
  • Mir News 226: Progress-M24 - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir EO-16; Mir LD-4. The 2d attempt to dock this freighter to Mir also did fail. The estimated docking time was 30.08.94 at 1450 UTC. The Progress-M24 softly hit the Mir-complex twice after which Progress-M24 immediately moved away. The Mir-crew felt the little shocks caused by the 2 contacts. They reported this during the pass in Mir's orbit 48762 at 1615 UTC. They also tried to assess eventual damages by looking through portholes. The transmitters of Progress-M24 functioned normally after the event.

    TsUP: In this flight control centre specialists did (until deadline of this report) not know the causes of both failures. More docking attempts are under consideration, but the decision depends on further analyses and results of meetings of specialists today. An eventual 3d attempt will not be made today (31.08). Among the possibilities is the use of the system TORU (Tele-orientation and guidance), which enables the crew to guide Progress-M24 from inside Mir.

    Consequences: These can be far-reaching for Russian manned spaceflight if further attempts to dock Progress-M24 would fail. Except from the normal cargo (food, water, fuel, repair material, post etc.) Progress-M24 had to deliver a part of the experiments for the Euromir94 mission and American equipment to enhance some systems on board Mir. The spare stock now available for life on board of the complex is enough for 1 month. So new supply before the end of September is urgently needed. Further failures can hamper the plans for the near future, i.e. the EVA-s in September, Euromir94 and the flights of American astronauts and Mir-Shuttle operation.

    (Derived from an enormous amount of information available until 31.08.94 at 1130 UTC.)

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


1994 September 2 - .
  • Mir News 227: Progress M-24 docks to Mir. - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir EO-16; Mir LD-4. TO BE ALLOWED TO TRY THREE TIMES RUNNING IS BUT FAIR!!

    The 3d attempt to dock the freighter Progress-M24 to Mir succeeded. This time they used the system TORU instead of Kurs. Malenchenko safely guided and docked Progress-M24 to the forward axial docking port (P.Kh.O.-transition section). The docking took place on 2.09.94 at 1330 UTC. During the last phase of the approach Malenchenko was fully responsible and in an admirable way he performed his task. Molodets!! Voice communication between Mir and TsUP via Altair was loud and clear and so I was able to monitor the actions and observations of Malenchenko. Just before docking the voice communication stopped while Progress-M24 was on a distance of 5 Meters with an approach speed of 26 cm/sec. M. had to correct Progress-M24's course due to a slight deviation to left.

    Radio traffic via VHF after the docking:

    During the pass in orb. 48809 (1648 UTC) M. reported that the hatch had been opened and that they already more or less had started the unloading. The ship was in good order and all was clean. The crew had to unload the container Biokrist and install it in the right place as soon as possible. (Biokrist is complex of protein crystallisation experiments) During the next pass (orb. 48810, 1824 UTC) the main subject again was the cargo and the special attention for the container Biokrist).

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


1994 September 6 - .
  • Mir News 228: Spacewalks (EVA's) - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir EO-16; Mir LD-4. The delay in the arrival of the freighter Progress-M24 will not cause significant changes in the original programme for the near future. The EVA's to be made in September have been put back by only 1 day: so to 9 and 13.09.94. The EVA on 9.09 will start at abt. 1300 UTC. The schedule for 13.09 depends on the results of the 1st EVA. The main task during these EVA's will be the transfer of the solar batteries from Module-T (Kristall) to Module-E (Kvant-1).

    Euromir94:

    Rumours suggested a substantial delay of the beginning of that mission. This has not officially been confirmed. Officially has been stated that it might be possible that Soyuz-TM20 with the European cosmonaut on board will blast off on 4.10.94, so 1 day later.

    Chris van den Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202.


1994 September 9 - . 07:00 GMT - .
1994 September 13 - .
  • Mir News 229: 2 Spacewalks (EVA-s) - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir EO-16; Mir LD-4. On 9.09.1994 Malenchenko and Musabayev worked in open space for the first time. The duration of the EVA was more than 4 hours (a reliable source even spoke about 5 hrs 2 mins.). During the pass in orb. 48915, 1200-1207 UTC, so within our VHF-range, they reported the closure of the hatch at 1202 UTC. During this EVA they inspected the outside of the whole complex, installed on outside platforms experimental materials for exposure to open space and removed other experiments of that kind for storage inside the complex. They repaired the damaged thermo-isolation layer on the transition section (P.Kh.O.) of which a piece of 30x40 cm had been torn away during the collision with Soyuz-TM17 in January 1994. The inspection made clear that the touches of the freighter Progress-M24 during its 2d approach on 30.08.94 did not cause significant damages.

    On 13.09.1994 they worked in open space for the 2d time. The EVA lasted 6 hrs and 1 min between 0631 UTC (opening of the hatch) and 1232 UTC (closure of the hatch). The cosmonauts did a lot of minor repairs, replacements of bolts, screws, etc. of platforms and equipment on the outer surface of the complex. They also spoke about an old antenna. Activities of that kind must be done now and then, but have been often neglected during EVA's due to more important matters. The cosmonauts also did some preparatory work aimed at the future transfer of the solar batteries from Kristall to Kvant-1. This transfer has been put back again, now even to the beginning of 1995.

    Radio communications: During EVA-s the frequency of the VHF- downlink is somewhat lower: 143.622 mc, shifting by Doppler to 143.617 mc. Listeners in Western-Europe, inclusive UK, who monitor Mir-traffic during EVA's often experience heavy interference caused by cross-modulation from an air traffic control frequency.

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


1994 September 13 - . 06:30 GMT - .
1994 September 29 - .
  • Mir News 230: Soyuz-TM20 - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir EO-16; Mir LD-4. The preparations for the launch of this ship with the relief crew and the Euromir94 astronaut are proceeding normally. The launch from Baykonur is scheduled for 3.10.94 at 2242 UTC (so for Moscow: 4.10.94 at 0142 Msc Winter Time.) If all goes well during the 2-days flight the Soyuz-TM20 will dock to the Mir complex on 6.10.94 at 0013 UTC. Radio traffic and beacon signals from Soyuz-TM20 can be monitored in our area for the first time on 4.10.94 at abt. 0142 UTC on the known frequencies. The crews on the roll are still: Aleksandr Viktorenko (commander), Yelena Kondakova (board-engineer) and the ESA astronaut, the German Ulf Merbold. The stand-ins: Yuriy Gidzenko (comm.), Sergey Avdeyev (B.E.), and the ESA astronaut, the Spaniard Pedro Duque. If the state commission decides to appoint the main-crew for the flight the crew of Soyuz-TM20 will use the call sign Vityaz (so Vityaz-1, 2 and 3.)

    Mir: The Mir-crew is preparing the station for the extension of the crew with another 3 persons. Therefore the life-support systems get special attention. The crew also modified the ASU (waste collection equipment) for the use by a lady. The crew is also busy with the loading of the freighter Progress-M24 with garbage and no things which are no longer needed. The Progress-M24 will have to leave the complex to free the docking port for the Soyuz-TM20. There have been plans to execute some test-approaches by the Progress-M24 after the undocking to try to unveil the causes of the malfunction of the Kurs system during the unsuccessful docking attempts on 26 and 30.08.94. After that operation the Progress-M24 will burn up in the atmosphere over a designated area in the Pacific ocean. Progress-M24 does not carry a VBK (ballistic return capsule).

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


1994 October 3 - . 22:42 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz 11A511U2.
  • Soyuz TM-20 - . Call Sign: Vityaz (Knight ). Crew: Kondakova; Merbold; Viktorenko. Backup Crew: Budarin; Reiter; Solovyov. Payload: Soyuz TM 11F732 s/n 69. Mass: 7,150 kg (15,760 lb). Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Kondakova; Merbold; Viktorenko; Budarin; Reiter; Solovyov. Agency: MOM. Program: Mir. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Flight: Mir EO-17; Mir Euromir 94; Mir EO-16; Mir LD-4. Spacecraft: Soyuz TM. Duration: 169.22 days. Decay Date: 1995-03-02 . USAF Sat Cat: 23288 . COSPAR: 1994-063A. Apogee: 395 km (245 mi). Perigee: 392 km (243 mi). Inclination: 51.6000 deg. Period: 92.43 min. Mir Expedition EO-17. Docked at the Mir forward port at 00:28 on 1994 October 6. The Mir crew of Viktorenko, Kondakova and Polyakov boarded Soyuz TM-20 on January 11, and undocked from Mir's front port at 09:00 GMT. The spacecraft withdrew to about two hundred metres from Mir and then redocked in a test of the automatic Kurs system, which had failed in Progress M-24's attempted docking. Redocking came at 09:25 GMT.

1994 October 4 - .
  • Mir News 231: Soyuz-TM20 launched. - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir EO-17; Mir Euromir 94; Mir EO-16; Mir LD-4. The Soyuz-TM20 with on board the Euromir94 astronaut Merbold and the cosmonauts Viktorenko and Kondakova blasted off from Baykonur exactly on schedule on 3.10.94 at 2242 UTC (Moscow time 4.10.94 at 0142 UTC). During the passes in our range during the orbits 2, 3, 4 and 5 at resp. 0143, 0312, 0445 and 0625 UTC the Soyuz-TM20 could be monitored on the known frequencies. At 0320 UTC Viktorenko, prompted by Kondakova, reported the successful first 2 orbit corrections and the additional data. It was obvious that all on board was going well. Judging by the cheerful voice of Kondakova she must be in a good condition. Kondakova wants to stay in orbit for approx. 6 months.

    Estimated time of docking to Mir:

    Result of calculations estimate the docking time of Soyuz-TM20 to Mir on 6.10.94 at 0013 UTC, ESA (still) sticks to 0030 UTC. Soyuz-TM20 has to dock to the forward (P.Kh.O.) axial docking port of the Mir complex.

    Progress-M24: This freighter still occupies that docking port and has to get away before the arrival of Soyuz-TM20. It might be possible that after the separation the Russians will check the system Kurs of Progress-M24 during some dummy approaches as to reveal the causes of malfunctions during recent unsuccessful docking attempts. Progress-M24 does not carry a VBK (ballistic return capsule) and will burn up in the atmosphere over an area in the Pacific.

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


1994 October 6 - .
  • Mir News 232: Soyuz-TM20 docked at the Mir complex - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir Euromir 94; Mir EO-16; Mir EO-17; Mir LD-4. Soyuz-TM20 docked at the Mir complex on 6.10.94 at 0028 UTC.

    Soyuz-TM20 docked at the forward axial docking port (transition section) of the complex. At a distance of 130 M. from the Mir complex Viktorenko had to take over manually due to a malfunction of an on board computer. During the radio traffic in orb. 49328, 0005 UTC, V. reported the progress of the operation. The Soyuz-TM20 was in a distance of 151 M., approach speed of 3 cm/sec just before LOS at 001148 UTC. From a distance of appr. 50 M Viktorenko had started the final approach and his skill amazed the observers in the ESA/EAC facility in Cologne: very quickly, with only a few corrections, he accurately moored his ship. During the next pass in orb. 49329, 0143 UTC, the new crew already was in Mir's base block preparing a TV-session. One of the first persons to congratulate the crew, especially the Euromir94 astronaut Merbold, was the Dir. General of ESA, Luton. Everybody in Cologne was pleased with the excellent physical condition of the newcomers. During the pass in orb. 49330, 0317 UTC, the cheerful meeting of both crews could be heard. Again there was a TV-session also with Kondakova. During the next window in orb. 49331, 0449 UTC, Viktorenko reported that he did all what he had to do with his ship Soyuz-TM20. Progress-M24: This naughty freighter had to withdraw before the arrival of Soyuz-TM20. Progress-M24 separated from Mir on 5.10.-

    94 at 1853 UTC. Probably she flew some orbits autonomously before burning up in the atmosphere over an area in the Pacific. There have been no reports about extra manoeuvres with Progress-M24.

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


1994 October 13 - .
  • Mir News 233: Failure power supply on board Mir - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir Euromir 94; Mir EO-16; Mir EO-17; Mir LD-4. In the night from 11 to 12.10.94 the voltage of the power supply sharply decreased. This failure had been caused by the insufficient charging by solar batteries. All systems in the base block discontinued functioning. From this moment on it was impossible to control the attitude of the Mir-complex. It became impossible to aim the antenna for communications via the geostationary satellite. During this night a lot of radio traffic via 143.625 mc was monitored in which the problems were reported and discussed. Opinions of Russian specialists are not unanimous: the VKS (Russian space forces) spoke of a very complicated situation. Deputy Flight controller Blagov of TsUP blamed the age of the station, which is in orbit as of the beginning of 1986, while the PRO of TsUP sounded rather optimistic. He stated that the Euromir94 expedition will remain on schedule. In the night from 12 to 13 Oct. Viktorenko and Kondakova remained on duty to be able to act if necessary. Meanwhile a lot of electric energy had been loaded and specialists hope to be able to adjust the attitude of the complex in such a way that the solar arrays will function as efficient as possible and that communications via the relay satellite will be restored. The cosmonauts did not panic at all: Viktorenko and Kondakova even joked about the fact that the exchange rate of the dollar on board Mir remained stable, which could not be said about the voltages of their power supply systems.

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


1994 October 31 - .
  • Mir News 234: Soyuz-TM19 - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir Euromir 94; Mir EO-16; Mir EO-17; Mir LD-4. This ship with on board the cosmonauts Malenchenko, Musabayev and Merbold will return to earth on 4.11.94. The return flight has been put back 1 day. The Russians had to extend the Euromir94 mission for an extra test flight with the Soyuz-TM19. The crew of Soyuz-TM19 will close the hatch behind them on 4.11.94 at 0450 UTC. The ship will undock from the Mir-complex at abt. 0700 UTC and if all goes according to the so called 'cyclogram' the landing in Kazakhstan will follow at 1118 UTC.

    The inserted test flight of Soyuz-TM19 will take place on 2.11.94. The ship will separate from at 1100 UTC and execute some approaches to check the automatic Kurs system.

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


1994 November 2 - .
  • Mir News 235: Soyuz-TM19 - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir Euromir 94; Mir EO-16; Mir EO-17; Mir LD-4. On 2.11.94 from 1040-1116 UTC this ship made an autonomous flight to test the automatic approach system. The crew consisted of Malenchenko, Musabayev and Merbold. No anomalies have been reported thus far.

    Euromir94: In spite of power problems in the beginning of this mission all medical-biological experiments during which Ulf Merbold, the ESA-astronaut, was the main guinea-pig have been successfully concluded. Merbold is sure that the samples did not suffer damages from the period in which the refrigerator was switched off. The material-processing experiments had to be cancelled due to the malfunction of an oven. The materials for these experiments remain on board Mir and after the repair of that oven the Russian crew will do the experiments. Spare parts for that oven will be delivered to the complex by the next Progress-M freighter.

    Estimated landing time Soyuz-TM19:

    The landing has been put forward a little bit and is expected to take place on 4.11.94 at 1055 UTC.

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


1994 November 4 - .
  • Mir News 236: Soyuz-TM19 returned to earth. - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir Euromir 94; Mir EO-16; Mir EO-17; Mir LD-4. Soyuz-TM19 with on board the cosmonauts Malenchenko, Musabayev and Merbold landed at abt. 170 KM N.E. of Arkalyk in Kazakhstan on 4.11.94 at 1118 UTC. Soyuz-TM19 separated from Mir at 0729 UTC. For radio- and TV-communications the tracking stations Ulan-Ude, Ussuriysk, Kolpashevo and Petropavlovsk Kamchatka were used. From 1020 UTC, so 3 minutes before retrofire, Soyuz-TM-19's traffic was relayed via Mir and the geostationary Altair satellite to TsUP. Malenchenko gave information about the retrofire, the fuel consumption and the altitudes of his ship. At 1051 UTC Soyuz-TM19 jettisoned the life compartment and the service module. These compartments burnt up in the atmosphere. At 1054 UTC the descent module entered the dense layers of the atmosphere and a short period of radio silence began. The radio contact had to be resumed at about 1101 UTC, but obviously due to a failure the transmitters of Soyuz-TM19 remained silent. This caused anxiety among 'observers' and the people following the events in the centres in Moscow, Toulouse, Cologne and Noordwijk (Estec). The controllers at TsUP did not get any reaction on their calls. At 1119 UTC a representative of ESA, who was on board of a search- en rescue helicopter, reported that he saw the landed capsule. Gradually reports came in about the safe landing of the cosmonauts without any reference to their physical condition.

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


1994 November 4 - .
  • Landing of Soyuz TM-19 - . Return Crew: Malenchenko; Merbold; Musabayev. Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Malenchenko; Merbold; Musabayev. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir Euromir 94; Mir EO-16; Mir EO-17; Mir LD-4. Soyuz TM-19 undocked from Mir with the crew of Malenchenko, Merbold and Musabayev aboard at 07:29 GMT on November 4. The Soyuz instrument module (PAO, priborno-agregatniy otsek) fired its deorbit engine, and was jettisoned together with the orbital module (BO, bitovoy otsek) at 10:51 GMT, with entry interface for the descent module (SA, spuskaemiy apparat) at 10:54. It landed 170 km north-east of Arkalyk in Kazakhstan on 1994 November 4 at 11:18 GMT.

1994 November 9 - .
  • Mir News 237: Progress-M25 - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir Euromir 94; Mir EO-16; Mir EO-17; Mir LD-4. Summary: The launch of this freighter from Baykonur is on schedule for 11 November 1994 at 0721 UTC. If all goes according to plan Progress-M25 will dock to the Mir-complex in the morning of 13 November 1994.

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


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