Encyclopedia Astronautica
Mir LD-4


Crew: Polyakov. Polyakov set a manned spaceflight record by spending over a year aboard Mir, during which he was part of three Mir crews (EO-15, EO-16, and EO-17). Backup crew: Arzamazov.

Polyakov set a manned spaceflight record by spending over a year aboard Mir, during which he was part of three Mir crews (EO-15, EO-16, and EO-17).

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.

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.

On November 13 Progress M-25 arrived. Viktorenko stood by at the remote control panel on Mir during approach, but manual intervention was unnecessary. Polyakov, veteran of the Progress M-24 problems, called Progress M-25 "an ideal freighter." Among other cargoes, Progress M-25 delivered replacement parts for the failed CSK-1 materials processing furnace. 50,000 orbits. On November 18 the Mir base block completed its 50,000th orbit of the Earth, having covered about 1.9 billion km since launch on February 20, 1986.

On February 3, 1995, US shuttle mission STS-63 was launched. It was the first mission to Mir by NASA, and the first shuttle launched with a Russian cosmonaut aboard (Vladimir Titov). Following independent operations with its SpaceHab payload, the shuttle Discovery arrived at Mir on February 6. Titov began 2-way radio communications with MIR via a special hand-held VHF radio at 170 km range. "As we are bringing our space ships closer together, we are bringing our nations closer together," said STS-63 Commander Jim Wetherbee. The close approach operations went as planned and achieved a distance of 11 m between the top of the SpaceHab module and the surface of the Mir module. Discovery then backed out to 120 m and started Mir fly around operations. There were no plans for a docking, and STS-63 returned to earth on 11 February, having proven shuttle ascent into the Mir station orbit, joint Russian-American operations, and several different methods for the approach and docking with Mir on later missions.

Mir Expedition EO-18 was launched aboard Soyuz TM-21 together with Norman Thagard. Soyuz TM-21 docked with Mir on March 16, 1995. Thagard was the first American to be launched in a Soyuz. This was the first time there were 13 people in space at same time: Dezhurov, Strekalov, Thagard on Soyuz; Viktorenko, Kondakova and Polyakov on Mir; and Oswald, Gregory, Lawrence, Jernigan, Grunsfeld, Parise, and Durrance on the shuttle Endeavour on an unrelated mission.

The EO-17 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. Soyuz TM-20 then separated one last time and landed 22 km northeast of Arkalyk in Kazakhstan at 04:04 GMT on March 22, 1995. This concluded Polyakov's flight, the longest in space history, spread over three Mir main expeditions.

AKA: Derbent (Derbent - Russian city); Soyuz TM-18 (Polyakov).
First Launch: 1994.01.08.
Last Launch: 1995.03.22.
Duration: 437.75 days.

More... - Chronology...


Associated People
  • Polyakov Polyakov, Dr Valeri Vladimirovich (1942-) Russian physician cosmonaut. Flew on Mir LD-2, Mir LD-4. Longest single space flight (437 days). 678 cumulative days in space. Civilian Physician, Institute of Medical Biological Problems. More...
  • Arzamazov Arzamazov, Dr Gherman Semyonovich (1946-) Russian physician cosmonaut, 1978-1995. Civilian Physician, Institute of Medical Biological Problems. More...
  • 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...
  • 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...

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 LD-4 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 - .
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.


1994 November 11 - .
  • Mir News 238: Progress-M25 launched for flight to Mir. - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir EO-17; Mir LD-4. The freighter Progress-M25 blasted off from Baykonur on 11.11.94 at 0721 UTC for a flight of 2 days to the Mir station. The transmitters of Progress-M25 could be heard here during the 3d and 4th orbit at resp. 1157 and 1326 UTC. If all goes according to plan Progress-M25 will arrive at Mir on 13.11.94 at abt 0902 UTC. Progress-M25 has to dock to the aft (Kvant- 1) docking port of the station. The approach system for this port has been checked during a short autonomous flight of Soyuz-TM19 on 3.11.94. No anomalies were found. If the system fails on 13.11 the cosmonauts are ready to guide Progress-M25 with the system TORU.

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


1994 November 11 - . 07:21 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz 11A511U. LV Configuration: Soyuz 11A511U Ya15000-638.
  • Progress M-25 - . Payload: Progress M s/n 225. Mass: 7,125 kg (15,707 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: MOM. Program: Mir. Class: Manned. Type: Manned logistics spacecraft. Flight: Mir EO-17; Mir LD-4. Spacecraft: Progress M. Duration: 97.39 days. Decay Date: 1995-02-16 . USAF Sat Cat: 23348 . COSPAR: 1994-075A. Apogee: 394 km (244 mi). Perigee: 391 km (242 mi). Inclination: 51.6000 deg. Period: 92.41 min. Summary: Unmanned resupply vessel to Mir. Docked with Mir on 13 Nov 1994 09:04:29 GMT. Undocked on 16 Feb 1995 13:03:00 GMT. Destroyed in reentry on 16 Feb 1995 16:45:00 GMT. Total free-flight time 2.23 days. Total docked time 95.17 days..

1994 November 13 - .
  • Mir News 239: Progress-M25 docked at Mir-space station. - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir EO-17; Mir LD-4. The freighter P-M25 docked at Mir's aft (Kvant-1) docking port on 13.11.94 at 0904 UTC (during orb. 49926). The approach and docking took place in the automatic mode by the system Kurs. On board Soyuz-TM20 Viktorenko was standby with the system TORU, but manual interference was not necessary. The operation could be monitored via Altair between 0822 and 0904 UTC. During the next pass (orb. 49927, 1027 UTC) the gentlemen on board left the honour to give the first post-docking report to Yelena Kondakova. Enthusiastically she reported the airseal, the opening of the hatch, the fact that Progress-M25 was clean and that they enjoyed the nice smell of apples and lemons. Polyakov said that the Progress-M25 was an ideal freighter.

    Progress-M25 delivered to the Mir-station new supplies of water, fuel, food, spare parts for repair (among which parts for the furnace to be used for the conclusion of the Euromir94 materials processing experiments) and post. Progress-M25 has not been equipped by a VBK (Ballistic Return Capsule).

    Jubilees: In the early morning of 18.11.94 Mir -that is to say the first part, the base block, launched on 19.02.1986- will make her 50000th orbit around the Earth. From that early beginning I tried to monitor as much as possible all passes within range. If I was a robot and had been able to monitor all passes this number would be 12500. But not being a robot I needed holidays etc. Nevertheless at a rough estimation I must have been monitoring Mir's radio traffic during 10000 passes. Homage to my poor ear-drums!

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


1994 December 20 - .
  • Mir News 240: After Euromir94 and the docking of the freighter - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir EO-17; Mir LD-4. Progress-M25 there have been no important operations. During the last 10 days the passes for our position took place at night. Meanwhile these passes shifted to the early evening. There has been radio traffic during the night hours about power supply problems. This time the solar panels are not to blame, but the accumulators full of age after 8 years continuous loading and unloading, are no longer able to fulfil their task properly. Now and then they cannot deliver enough power to keep important systems in operation. Sometimes this even causes malfunctions of the gyrodynes.

    Spacewalks (EVA-s): The long awaited EVA's have been put back again. The EVA in which Viktorenko and Polyakov have to replace a docking system inside the transition section obviously is no longer on schedule. The important EVA for the transfer of the solar panels of Kristall to Kvant-1 has been put back to May 1995.

    Communications: The geostationary Kosmos-2054 (Altair) on 16 degr. West is still operational but seldom in use for Mir-TsUP traffic. Sometimes the channel on 10.835 GHz is in use for other 'customers'. Possibly the Russians use another channel for Mir-TsUP communications. On 16.12.94 at abt. noon a new geostationary satellite, Luch-1 has been launched from Baykonur. This Luch-1 will be used for Mir-TsUP communications over 95 dgs East. Possibly this satellite will be operational in January 1995. Long ago 95 dgs East was in use for Luch satellites (Cosmos- 1700 and 1897). For the Russians it would be very useful to place a 2d Luch on 160 dgs. West. Luch-1 on 95 dgs East will help to fill up the gaps after the loss of the tracking stations in Tblisi and Yevpatoriya. There still is a third tracking station near Russia's weak underbelly: Dzhusaly not far from Baykonur, but the status of this station is vulnerable as it is located in Kazakhstan. A lot of unpleasant events during the last years proved that this country does not always appreciate the Russian presence on its territory.

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


1995 January 11 - .
  • Mir News 241: Autonomous test flight Soyuz-TM20 - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir EO-17; Mir LD-4. On 11.01.1995 between 0900 and 0925 UTC the Soyuz-TM20 flew autonomously to test the Kurs-approach and docking system at the forward transition section (P.Kh.O.) of the Mir-complex. Problems during some docking operations in Aug/Sept 1994 (Progress-M24) and on 6.10.1994 (Soyuz-TM20) made this operation necessary. Long before Soyuz-TM20 separated from the complex the whole crew was on board of that ship and thoroughly tested all systems. According to the plan the Soyuz-TM20 executed the approach and docking fully automatically by use of the Kurs system. Viktorenko, assisted by Kondakova, was ready to take over manually if something went wrong or in case of a too high fuel consumption. Soyuz-TM20 perfectly linked to the station at 09.24.57 UTC, the aberrations remained far within the limits, just before docking less than 0.5 degrees. The good functioning of the Kurs systems is indispensable for the execution of the program for this year. During the operation with the Soyuz-TM20 the radio traffic went via the geostationary Altair. During the separation Soyuz-TM20 flew within our range and the traffic could be monitored on 121.750 mc as well as via Altair.

    Luch-1:

    This geostationary satellite to be used for Mir-TsUP communications in the near future is standing over 95 degrees East, but is not yet operational for TDRS purposes.

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


1995 January 26 - .
  • Mir News 242: Mir - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir EO-17; Mir LD-4. The Mir-crew is still struggling along to keep the complex habitable and operational. Recently they had to cope with technical problems with the heating, drinking-water, pressure control and with a leakage of water in the Kristall-module. With the help of advice from experts on earth they solved the problems. On 23.01.1995 during the pass in orbit 51032, 0719- UTC, TsUP gave Viktorenko attitude control data to adjust the attitude of the complex in such a way that the solar panels of the Kristall module could deliver a maximum of energy. Dr. Polyakov continued his medical checks and experiments. On request by experts on earth the crew filmed and observed the areas of Kobe in Japan and Grozny. On 21.01.1995 they transmitted these images to earth. It was not always possible to do this due to clouds and bad weather in the areas of interest. Also on 21.01.1995 Dr. Polyakov gave a lecture for Russian children, members of an organisation for young people interested in spaceflight. During a long TV-session via Altair Polyakov explained how the systems in the base block worked. Extensively he explained all about the production and delivery of oxygen for the complex and the purification of the air on board. He emphasised the necessity of the permanent survey of the life systems and a regular maintenance.

    Rendezvous Discovery (STS-63) with Mir: On 2.02.1995 at 0549 UTC STS-63 will be launched for a flight in which the most important operation will be a rendezvous with the Mir-complex. Somewhat earlier, on 4.02.1995 at 1221- UTC Mir and Discovery will be able to establish radio contact. From Discovery cosmonaut Titov and the female astronauts Collins and Voss will speak with the crew of Mir. On 5.02.1995 at 1828 UTC the rendezvous operation will begin and STS-63 will approach Mir in a distance of 10 meters.

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


1995 February 3 - . 05:22 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39B. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-63.
  • STS-63 - . Call Sign: Discovery. Crew: Collins, Eileen; Foale; Harris; Titov, Vladimir; Voss, Janice; Wetherbee. Backup Crew: Krikalyov. Payload: Discovery F20 / Spacehab SH03 / CGP / ODERACS. Mass: 8,641 kg (19,050 lb). Nation: USA. Related Persons: Collins, Eileen; Foale; Harris; Titov, Vladimir; Voss, Janice; Wetherbee; Krikalyov. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: Mir. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-63; Mir EO-17; Mir LD-4. Spacecraft: Discovery. Duration: 8.27 days. Decay Date: 1995-02-11 . USAF Sat Cat: 23469 . COSPAR: 1995-004A. Apogee: 342 km (212 mi). Perigee: 275 km (170 mi). Inclination: 51.6000 deg. Period: 92.30 min. Deployed ODERACS 2A-2E; deployed and retrieved Spartan 204. Discovery rendezvoused with Russia's space station, Mir, to a distance of 11 m and performed a fly-around, but did not dock with Mir. Payloads: SPACEHAB 03, Shuttle Pointed Autonomous Research Tool for Astronomy (SPARTAN) 204, Cryo Systems Experiment (CSE)/GLO-2 Experi-ment Payload (CGP)/Orbital Debris Radar Calibration Spheres (ODERACS) 2, Solid Surface Combustion Experiment (SSCE), Air Force Maui Optical Site (AMOS), IMAX Cargo Bay Camera (ICBC)

1995 February 11 - .
  • Mir News 243: Discovery-Mir - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: STS-63; Mir EO-17; Mir LD-4. The rendezvous operation got sufficient attention in the media. So I refrain from repeating the extensively published facts. I monitored as much as possible radio traffic related to the rendezvous. Here some items which might be interesting for insiders and 'real spaceflight freaks': 1. During the rendezvous TV transmissions from Mir with images of Discovery were relayed via Altair, the Russian TDRS over 17 degs. West. These transmissions reached K.S.C. and Houston and have been widely used by TV-organisations, for instance CNN. As soon as the windows for Mir-Altair traffic closed the new Luch-1 over 97 degrees East and a number of Russian tracking stations took over. 2. Co-operation and co-ordination between both FCC-s (Houston and Kaliningrad) went smoothly. 3. For direct radio contact between Mir and Discovery the VHF- channels 121.750 and 130.1625MC -in fact Mir-channels- were in use. Vladimir Titov also used a handset for communications in the ham band: 145.325 and 145.625Mc. Before and after the rendezvous operation Mir and Discovery now and then used Altair and TDRS channels for contact with each other. 4. Regularly commentators emphasised the fact that the operation was a rehearsal for the docking operation of Atlantis in June 1995. This rehearsal was a success: Discovery remained stable on the closest approach of 10 M just in a position opposite to the docking port of the Kristall-module to be used by Atlantis for the docking. Before that docking the Russians will have to move the Kristall from the side- to the axial forward docking port of the transition section.

    Radio traffic during the days before the launch of Discovery and before the rendezvous: A lot of traffic was related to the preparations of the rendezvous. For the Mir-crew this meant a lot of work to install TV- and Photo camera's and training in communication procedures. Conversations about these subjects could be monitored during communication sessions via Altair. Also via Altair the Mir-crew regularly spoke with cosmonaut Titov on K.S.C. where he was waiting for the launch.

    After the rendezvous: Unfortunately the passes of Mir and Discovery for our position occurred during the night hours and the cosmonauts stuck to their normal day- and night routine. This made it impossible for us to monitor direct radio traffic between Mir and Discovery being not far from each other for a long time. During all possible windows for visual observations dense clouds made these observations impossible.

    Mir-routine now: Now the Russians are again among themselves. This will not often be the case in 1995 and 1996. (To be continued in the next MirNEWS).

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


1995 February 11 - .
1995 February 12 - .
  • Mir News 244: Mir-routine - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir EO-17; Mir LD-4. Mir's passes within our range are gradually shifting to the late evening hours. So the number of VHF- sessions will increase. During the day hours the Russians regularly, though a little bit frugally, use the Altair satellite for Mir-communications. During a long session on 8.02.95, orb. 51281, 0824-0853 UTC, Polyakov was training at the controls of Soyuz-TM20. By the use of the test possibilities without activation of the systems Soyuz-TM's can be used as link trainer. In fact steering of such a ship is not the task of the physician-cosmonaut, but useful if this unexpected might be necessary in emergency situations. Polyakov had a rough time during this exercise for towards the end everything went wrong. On the same day during orb. 51284, 1437-1500 UTC, Mir spoke with the crew of Discovery via Altair and an American TDRS. Polyakov congratulated the Discovery crew with the successful deployment of the satellite Spartan. On 11.02.95 , orb. 51327, 0829-0913 UTC, Polyakov assisted by Kondakova gave a lecture for a group of spaceflight loving children about food on board the Mir complex.

    Progress-M27: The launch from Baykonur of this freighter is on schedule for 15.02.1995 at 1647 UTC. If all goes according to plan Progress-M27 can be monitored in our vicinity (Western Europa and UK) that day at about 1950 UTC. Frequencies: 922.755, 166.130, 166.140 and 165.873 MC.

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


1995 February 15 - .
  • Mir News 245: Progress-M26 launched - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir EO-17; Mir LD-4. Correction on MirNEWS.244 Read Progress-M26 instead of Progress-M27.

    Progress-M26 launched:

    The freighter Progress-M26 has been launched from Baykonur on 15.02-

    .1995 at 164827 UTC. During the pass between 2252 and 2259 UTC the transmissions in the 166, 165 and 922 Mc band could be monitored. Progress-M26 has to deliver new supplies to the Mir station, i.e. water, fuel, oxygen, oxidisers, food, but also materials for the extension of the on board systems, repair material for the drinking water installation, post and a new board documentation, medical goods, underwear etc. and an amount of 132 KG hard- and software for the experiments of the American Thagard. The enormous cargo made it impossible to equip Progress-M26 with a VBK (ballistic return capsule). Progress-M25: This freighter will separate from Mir on 16.02.1995 at 1303 UTC and will be deorbited at 1606 UTC for decay in the atmosphere over the Pacific. In this way the aft (Kvant-1) docking port of the complex will be made available for the arrival of the Progress-M26.

    Estimated docking time: Progress-M26 has to dock to the Mir station on 17.02.1995 at 1821 UTC.

    Mir: On 10.02.1995 at 183542 UTC the orbit of Mir has been corrected a little bit. With an impulse of 2m/sec the period changed from 92.3 mins to 92.39 mins. New Keplers: Epoch 95043.6810782, decay rate: 0.00046585, incl 51.6467, raan 61.6530, ecc. 0.0005015, arg per 116.1404, ma 244.1203, mm 15.57626647, rev. nr. 51354.

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


1995 February 15 - . 16:48 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz 11A511U. LV Configuration: Soyuz 11A511U Ya15000-641.
  • Progress M-26 - . Payload: Progress M s/n 226. Mass: 7,139 kg (15,738 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: MOM. Program: Mir. Class: Manned. Type: Manned logistics spacecraft. Flight: Mir EO-17; Mir LD-4. Spacecraft: Progress M. Duration: 27.56 days. Completed Operations Date: 1995-03-15 06:14:32 . Decay Date: 1995-03-15 06:14:32 . USAF Sat Cat: 23477 . COSPAR: 1995-005A. Apogee: 396 km (246 mi). Perigee: 391 km (242 mi). Inclination: 51.6000 deg. Period: 92.40 min. Summary: Unmanned resupply vessel to Mir. Docked with Mir on 17 Feb 1995 18:21:34 GMT. Undocked on 15 Mar 1995 02:26:38 GMT. Destroyed in reentry over the Pacific Ocean on 15 Mar 1995 06:15:00 GMT. Total free-flight time 2.22 days. Total docked time 25.34 days..

1995 February 17 - .
  • Mir News 246: Successful docking Progress-M26 at Mir - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir EO-17; Mir LD-4. Freighter Progress-M26 docked at the aft (Kvant-1) docking port of the Mir-complex on 17.02.1995 at 182136 UTC in orb. 51427. Approach and docking took place in the automatic mode with the system Kurs. Viktorenko was ready to take over manually (by TORU) if necessary. He reported the movements of the Progress-M26 which enabled me to monitor the operation until 'kasaniye' (touch, soft docking). For TV-transmissions and phone the Russians used the geostationary Altair. This time the docking was executed in the earth's shadow. A searchlight had been installed on the Progress-M26. During the next orbit (0912 UTC) the crew reported that the airseal was good. It lasted a long time before the crew could enter the Progress-M26 due to some obstructing goods.

    Decay of Progress-M25: Progress-M25 left the aft docking port on 16.02.1995 at 1303 UTC. After two autonomous orbits the Progress-M25 got an impulse at 1606 UTC to enter the dense layers of the atmosphere. She decayed in a for that purpose designated area over the Pacific East of New-Zealand. Progress-M25 did not carry a VBK (ballistic return capsule). The Russians do not equip Progress-M ships with such a capsule if the landing has to take place in the winter.

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


1995 March 14 - . 06:11 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz 11A511U2.
  • Soyuz TM-21 - . Call Sign: Uragan (Hurricane ). Crew: Dezhurov; Strekalov; Thagard. Backup Crew: Avdeyev; Dunbar; Gidzenko. Payload: Soyuz TM 11F732 s/n 70. Mass: 7,150 kg (15,760 lb). Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Dezhurov; Strekalov; Thagard; Avdeyev; Dunbar; Gidzenko. Agency: MOM. Program: Mir. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Flight: Mir EO-18; Mir EO-17; Mir LD-4. Spacecraft: Soyuz TM. Duration: 181.03 days. Decay Date: 1995-09-11 . USAF Sat Cat: 23519 . COSPAR: 1995-010A. Apogee: 398 km (247 mi). Perigee: 392 km (243 mi). Inclination: 51.6000 deg. Period: 92.50 min. Mir Expedition EO-18. Soyuz TM-21 carried the EO-18 Mir crew and American Norman Thagard. Thagard was the first American to be launched in a Soyuz. Soyuz docked with Mir at 07:45:26 GMT on March 16 . On July 4 Soyuz TM-21 undocked and backed off to a distance of 100 m from Mir. The US space shuttle Atlantis, with the EO-18 crew aboard, then undocked and began a flyaround at a distance of 210 m, while the EO-19 crew aboard Soyuz took pictures before redocking with the station. Soyuz TM-21 again undocked with the EO-19 crew on September 11 from the Kvant rear port on Mir and landed at 50 deg 41'N 68 deg 15'E, 108 km northeast of Arkalyk in Kazakhstan, at 06:52:40 GMT .

1995 March 16 - .
  • Mir News 247: Flight of Soyuz-TM21 - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir EO-18; Mir EO-17; Mir LD-4. Launch from Baykonur on 14.03.1995 at 0611 UTC; docking to the Mir-station on 16.03.1995 at 0745 UTC. The crew consisting of the captain Dezhurov, board-engineer Strekalov and the American Norman Thagard, uses the call Uragany, so resp. Uragan-1, 2 en 3. All went well during the 2-days flight. During the 4th and 5th orbit Soyuz-TM21 had been corrected and the crew reported this on 121.750 mc during passes within our range. Telemetry- and beacon-transmitters could be monitored on the well known frequencies (166.130, 165.873 en 922.755mc.). To communicate with TsUP Soyuz-TM21 had to be within range of the ground stations in Russia and Kazakhstan. Communications via the geostationary satellites Altair and Luch-1 are only possible when an Soyuz-TM21 is within range of the Mir-station. Then Mir can act as a relay station. This can be heard during the pass within our range just before the docking. The signals from the Soyuz-TM can be received simultaneously: directly on 121.750 mc as well as via Altair. The images used by American TV-stations reached them via Mir and Altair. The TV-report from Soyuz-TM21 from CNN ceased when Mir/Soyuz-TM21 left the window for Altair. The crew of the Soyuz-TM21 seemed to have no adaptation problems, Strekalov and Thagard have a lot of experience, but newcomer Dezhurov also performed his tasks well. Mir: The crew has been very busy with preparations for the arrival of the so called 18th Main Expedition to Mir. Life support systems and other vital equipment got special attention. As usual before the oncoming return the crew had to undergo a lot of medical checks (E.C.G.-s etc.). The crew also completed the work with the freighter Progress-M26, due to leave the aft docking port of the complex for that port must be available for the docking of the Soyuz-TM21.

    Progress-M26 separated from Mir on 15.03.1995 and decayed that day in a designated area East of New Zealand at abt. 0600 UTC.

    Return to Earth of the 17th Main Expedition (Viktorenko, Kondakova and Dr. Polyakov) on 22.03.1995 with the Soyuz-TM20.

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


1995 March 22 - .
  • Mir News 248: Soyuz-TM20 returned to Earth - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir EO-18; Mir EO-17; Mir LD-4. The Soyuz-TM20 made a safe landing at abt 50 KM from the city Arkalyk in Kazakhstan on 22.03.1995 at 0405 UTC. Soyuz-TM20 landed only 10KM from the estimated aiming point. The return operation was executed as planned: On 21.03.1995 at 2135 UTC closing of the hatches, 22.03.1995 at 0040 UTC separation from the Mir- station, 0315 UTC starting engines to reduce speed to start descent and a safe landing at 0405 UTC. In the hour before the landing (between 0306 and 0349 UTC) radio traffic of Soyuz-TM20 with TsUP via Mir and Altair could be monitored. Viktorenko and Kondakova reported the operational data, Kondakova having the lion's share. Emancipation as far as spaceflight is concerned has been successfully concluded! Separation of motor compartment and life compartment at 033955 UTC. Just before re-entry the ANAN-rescue beacon could be heard. From 0340 UTC radio silence caused by the plasma-heath.

    Records:

    Dr. Polyakov fulfilled 438 days in space during 1 flight, so 72 days more than Titov and Manarov (366 days at a stretch). Kondakova was 169 days in space.

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


1995 March 22 - .
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