Encyclopedia Astronautica
Mir Euromir 94


Crew: Merbold. German astronaut. Primary mission to swap Soyuz lifeboats. Backup crew: Duque.

Merbold was aboard Soyuz TM-20 as it docked at the Mir forward port at 00:28 on October 6, 1994. He left the station aboard Soyuz TM-19 when it undocked from Mir at 07:29 GMT on November 4. The Soyuz instrument module (PAO, priborno-agregatniy otsek) fired its deorbit engine, and was jettisoned together with the orbital module (BO, bitovoy otsek) at 10:51 GMT, with entry interface for the descent module (SA, spuskaemiy apparat) at 10:54. It landed 170 km north-east of Arkalyk in Kazakhstan on 1994 November 4 at 11:18 GMT.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AKA: Vityaz (Knight ); Soyuz TM-20 (Merbold).
First Launch: 1994.10.03.
Last Launch: 1994.11.04.
Duration: 31.52 days.

More... - Chronology...


Associated People
  • Merbold Merbold, Dr Ulf Dietrich (1941-) German physicist payload specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-9, STS-42, Mir Euromir 94. More...
  • 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...
  • Viktorenko Viktorenko, Aleksandr Stepanovich (1947-) Russian pilot cosmonaut. Flew on Mir EP-1, Mir EO-5, Mir EO-11, Mir EO-17. 489 cumulative days in space. Call sign: Vityaz (Knight). More...
  • Kondakova Kondakova, Yelena Vladimirovna (1957-) Russian engineer cosmonaut. Flew on Mir EO-17, STS-84. Engineer, first Russian woman to fly in space for other than propaganda reasons. Was married to astronaut Valeriy Ryumin. Civilian Engineer, Energia NPO More...
  • Duque Duque, Pedro Francisco (1963-) Spanish engineer mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-95, ISS Cervantes. First Spanish astronaut. 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 Euromir 94 Chronology


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

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

    Estimated time of docking to Mir:

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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

    Estimated landing time Soyuz-TM19:

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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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