Food fight on Mir
Credit: RKK Energia
AKA: Mir EO-9;Ozon (Ozone);Soyuz TM-12 (Artsebarsky). Launched: 1991-05-18. Returned: 1991-10-10. Number crew: 1 . Duration: 144.64 days.
Carried Anatoli Artsebarsky, Sergei Krikalyov, Helen Sharman to Mir; returned Artsebarsky, crew of Soyuz TM 8 to Earth. Second commercial flight with paying British passenger. Sponsoring British consortium was not quite able to come up with money, however. Flight continued at Soviet expense with very limited UK experiments.
Narrative (adapted from D S F Portree's Mir Hardware Heritage, NASA RP-1357, 1995)
On May 20, 1991, the EO-8 crew welcomed aboard Mir the EO-9 crew of Anatoli Artsebarski and Sergei Krikalyov (on his second visit to the station), accompanied by British cosmonaut-researcher Helen Sharman. Sharman was aboard as part of Project Juno, a cooperative venture partly sponsored by British private enterprise.
Sharman's experimental program, which was designed by the Soviets, leaned heavily toward life sciences. A bag of 250,000 pansy seeds was placed in the Kvant 2 EVA airlock, a compartment not as protected from cosmic radiation as other Mir compartments. Sharman also contacted nine British schools by radio and conducted high-temperature superconductor experiments with the Elektropograph-7K device. Sharman commented that she had difficulty finding equipment on Mir as there was a great deal more equipment than in the trainer in the cosmonaut city of Zvezdny Gorodok.
Krikalev commented that, while Mir had more modules than it had had the first time he lived on board, it did not seem less crowded, as it contained more equipment. Krikalev also noted that some of the materials making up the station's exterior had faded and lost color, but that this had had no impact on the station's operation.
During a communication session with a British girls' school on May 21, Sharman commented that Mir was experiencing solar array problems because of the station's changing orientation. Late that day the level of background noise on the station suddenly fell from the customary 75 decibels as fans, circulating pumps, and other equipment shut down. The lights began to fade. A computer in the orientation system had failed, preventing the solar arrays from tracking on the Sun, and causing Mir to drain its batteries. Sharman stated that Afanaseyev and Manarov told her such power problems had occurred before. When it reentered sunlight, the station was turned to recharge its batteries.
The EO-8 crew returned uneventfully to earth on May 26 with Sharman. The EO-9 crew first needed to move their spacecraft to Mir's aft port to make way for Progress M-8, which could not dock with the rear port because of the damage to the Kurs approach system antenna there. The move was made on May 28, 1991, and required 42 min. The cosmonauts released the small MAK-1 satellite from the Mir base block's experiment airlock on June 17. It was designed to study Earth's ionosphere. However, a probable power failure prevented its antennas from deploying, and the satellite remained inert.
On June 24 the EO-9 crew exited the hatch on Kvant 2 and clambered over Mir's hull to the aft end of Kvant, where they removed the damaged Kurs approach system unit and replaced it. They also assembled a prototype thermomechanical joint to be used in the assembly of space structures. The EVA lasted 4 hr, 53 min.
On June 28 the cosmonauts attached to Mir's hull the TREK instrument, a device for studying cosmic ray super heavy nuclei. The experiment was devised by the University of California and delivered by Progress M-8. The EO-9 crew used the Strela telescoping boom to move about the station. EVA duration was 3 hr, 24 min.
On July 15 the EO-9 crew used the Strela boom to transfer equipment from the Kvant 2 EVA hatch to the work site on Kvant. They attached two ladders to Kvant to give them handholds, then assembled a platform for Sofora on Kvant. Sofora was to be a 14.5-m girder extending from Kvant. The EVA lasted 5 hr, 56 min.
Sofora construction commences. On July 19 Krikalyov and Artsebarski installed an automated assembly unit similar to the one Kizim and Solovyov had experimented with on Salyut 7 in 1986. Sofora was also an experimental construction, but the Soviets had plans to attach an attitude control thruster unit to it if it functioned as expected. The thruster unit would augment Mir's attitude control systems. They assembled 3 of 20 segments planned for Sofora before returning to Mir. The EVA lasted 5 hr, 28 min.
On July 23 the EO-9 crew added 11 segments to the Sofora girder. The EVA lasted 5 hr, 34 min. On July 27 the cosmonauts added the last six segments to the Sofora girder. They also attached a Soviet flag in a metal frame to the top of the girder. This was not planned in advance; the cosmonauts decided independently to attach the flag. Artsebarski's visor fogged up from exertion, but Krikalyov was able to help him back to the Kvant 2 hatch. EVA duration was 6 hr, 49 min.128
The coup against Mikhail Gorbachev had little immediate impact on Mir operations. Progress M-9 was launched as the coup attempt fell apart, on August 21. Boris Belitsky, a Radio Moscow space and science reporter, stated that the TsUP relayed broadcasts of Soviet Central TV (pro-coup) and Russian Radio (anti-coup) to the EO-9 crew. He stated that there were never any plans to abandon the station during the coup, but revealed that such provisions existed in the event of the outbreak of a major war on Earth.
Soyuz TM-13 arrived at Mir on 4 October, 1991. It carried Austrian cosmonaut-researcher Franz Viehboeck and Kazakh cosmonaut-researcher Toktar Aubakirov. The flight was unusual for carrying no flight engineer. Veteran Russian cosmonaut Alexandr Volkov commanded. The Austrians paid $7 million to fly Viehboeck to Mir, and the Kazakh cosmonaut flew partly in an effort to encourage newly-independent Kazakhstan to continue to permit launchings from Baikonur Cosmodrome. The cosmonaut-researchers photographed their respective countries from orbit and conducted the usual range of materials processing and medical experiments. Artsebarski traded places with Volkov and returned to Earth in Soyuz TM-12. Krikalyov remained aboard Mir on his unplanned long-duration mission together with Volkov to make up the EO-10 crew.
Cosmonaut uses Mir Strela Boom
Credit: RKK Energia
|Mir EVA - Sfora arm|
Cosmonaut on Strela boom silhouetted against solar panel.
Credit: RKK Energia
Sharman after landing.
Credit: RKK Energia
Docked with Mir. Mir Expedition EO-09. Carried Anatoli Artsebarski, Sergei Krikalev, Helen Sharman to Mir; returned Artsebarski, crew of Soyuz TM 8 to Earth. Second commercial flight with paying British passenger. Sponsoring British consortium was not quite able to come up with money, however. Flight continued at Soviet expense with very limited UK experiments.
Unmanned resupply vessel to Mir; carried reentry capsule for return of 150 kg of experiment results. Docked with Mir on 23 Aug 1991 00:54:17 GMT. Undocked on 30 Sep 1991 01:53:00 GMT. 350 kg return capsule detached from the Propess' orbital module at an altitude of 110 to 130 km. The capsule underwent a ballistic descent to 15 km, followed by a parachute descent from there to surface. The capsule's beacon began transmitting at 4.5 km. Landed in Kazakhstan on 30 Sep 1991 08:16:24 GMT. Total free-flight time 2.35 days. Total docked time 38.04 days.
Manned three crew. Docked with Mir. Mir Expedition EO-10. Transported to the Mir manned orbital station an international crew comprising the cosmonauts A Volkov (USSR), T Aubakirov (USSR) and F. Viehbock (Austria), to conduct joint scientific and technical research with the cosmonauts A. Artsebarsky and S Krikalev. Austria paid $ 7 million for mission. Kazakh cosmonaut added at last minute.