AKA: Mir EO-13;Vulkan (Volcano). Launched: 1993-01-24. Returned: 1993-07-22. Number crew: 2 . Duration: 179.03 days.
Transported to the Mir manned orbital station a crew of the thirteenth main expedition comprising the cosmonauts G M Manakov and A F Poleschuk. Soyuz TM-16 landed at 06:42 GMT on July 22.
Narrative (adapted from D S F Portree's Mir Hardware Heritage, NASA RP-1357, 1995)
On January 26, 1993 Soyuz TM-16 arrived and created a unique Mir configuration when it docked with the lateral APAS-89 docking unit on Kristall. This tested the unit for future operations. EO-13 mission commander Manakov was paying his second visit to Mir. Alexandr Poleshchuk was on his first mission. On January 28 the cosmonauts carried out Rezonans tests on the Mir complex, which at this time weighed more than 90 tons (its heaviest ever) and included seven separately launched spacecraft. The EO-12 crew of Avdeyev and Solovyov return to Earth on February 1. The Soyuz TM-15 descent module lowered to Earth beneath low clouds, touched down, and rolled partway down a hillock. It came to rest 150 m from a frozen marsh.
On February 4 Progress M-15 undocked from Mir and backed to a distance of 230 m. The spacecraft fired thrusters to cause it to rotate about its long axis, after which it successfully deployed a 20-m, 40-kg foil reflector called Znamya ("banner") from its orbital module. It was a test of a future solar reflector/solar sail designed to illuminate and warm regions on the Earth's surface not in direct sunlight, such as the polar regions in winter. The experiment lasted only 6 min, during which time Progress M-15 and the nearby Mir complex passed over Europe along a path from Lyon, in southern France, through Prague in the Czech Republic, to Gomel in eastern Belarus. Znamya was sighted in the predawn sky in many places along the path, including southern France, eastern Poland, and Belarus. Manakov and Poleshchuk observed the test from Mir. Znamya was then cast off. The collapsed, tumbling reflector remained visible from the surface for 24 hr. It was seen as a glittering object over much of Canada.
After discarding Znamya, Progress M-15 was controlled by the cosmonauts on Mir at a distance of 200 m. The test lasted 12 min. Progress M-15 was deorbited by command from the TsUP on February 7.
Progress M-16 delivered replacement parts when it arrived on February 23. On March 2 Manakov and Poleshchuk replaced Mir's air conditioning unit. They also replaced components in the part of the communication system linking Mir to the Cosmos 2054 Altair/SR satellite. Over the next week the cosmonauts installed new gyrodynes in Kvant 2 and replaced parts in the computers. On March 19 Poleshchuk and Manakov connected the electrical systems of Kvant 2 and Kristall. Soon after, they tested the new gyrodynes in Kvant 2 by moving the complex.
Progress M-16 undocked early on March 26 and backed off to a distance of 70 m under control of the cosmonauts inside Mir. They then commanded Progress M-16 to approach and dock. The operation was completed within 20 min of initial undocking. Final undocking on March 27 was initiated and controlled in its initial stages by Poleshchuk and Manakov. The TsUP took control for the final stages of the cargo ship's flight and its destructive re-entry.
Progress M-17 arrived on April 2 with new equipment. Late on April 19, Poleshchuk and Manakov opened the airlock hatch on Kvant 2 to begin the first of three planned EVAs. Its objective was to install solar array electric drives on the sides of Kvant. These would later receive the collapsible solar arrays from Kristall. Poleshchuk climbed down the length of Kvant 2 to the base of the Strela telescoping boom attached to the base block. Manakov then fixed himself to the end of the boom, at which point Poleshchuk swung the boom to move him to the installation site on Kvant. A container holding one of the electric drives was transferred using the boom. With difficulty the cosmonauts attached the drive to one of the frameworks which had been assembled on opposite sides of Kvant in 1991 by Titov and Manarov. Poleshchuk noticed that one of two control handles for the Strela boom had come off and floated away. A new handle would have to be sent up from Earth before work could continue. The EVA lasted 5 hr, 25 min.
While they waited for delivery of a replacement handle, the second EVA, planned for April 23, was cancelled. The cosmonauts carried out routine maintenance on the water regeneration, electricity supply, and onboard computer systems. They also conducted Rezonans tests. Progress M-18's docking on 24 May marked the first time a Soviet station was attended by two Progress craft at the same time. In addition to the replacement handle for the telescoping boom, Progress M-18 delivered replacement water pumps for the thermal control system and computer parts. On June 18 Poleshchuk and Manakov exited the station and repaired the boom, then installed the second solar array electric drive. They completed their EVA tasks by televising images of Mir's exterior.
In a unique maneuver on July 3, Progress M-18 undocked from Mir, clearing the port for the docking only minutes later of Soyuz TM-17 with the EO-14 crew of Vasili Tsibliyev and Alexandr Serebrov and French cosmonaut Haignere. The EO-13 crew returned to earth together with Haignere aboard Soyuz TM-16 on July 22. Progress M-18 remained docked to the station in a systems longevity test.
Mir modules in assembly shop
Credit: RKK Energia
Manned two crew. Mir Expedition EO-13. Transported to the Mir manned orbital station a crew of the thirteenth main expedition comprising the cosmonauts G M Manakov and A F Poleschuk.The Soyuz carried the APAS androgynous docking system instead of the usual probe system.
Aleksandr Solovyov and Sergey Avdeyev undocked from the Mir complex aboard Soyuz TM-15 on February 1 and landed the same day in Kazakhstan after six months in space at 03:47 GMT. Soyuz TM-15's flight was an in-orbit record for a Soyuz spaceship - 188 days 21 h 39 m.
Unmanned resupply vessel to Mir. Docked with Mir on 23 Feb 1993 20:17:57 GMT. Undocked on 26 Mar 1993 06:50:00 GMT. Redocked with Mir on 1993-03-26 07:06:03 GMT. Final undocking on 1993-03-27 04:21:00 GMT. Destroyed in reentry on 27 Mar 1993 10:25:00 GMT. Total free-flight time 2.33 days. Total docked time 31.32 days.
After the docking of freighter Progress-M16 the crew continued their reparation and replacement work on the systems of the complex. They did not much experimental work apart from geophysical observations. They needed all their working time for technical maintenance. They repaired a number of gyrodynes and Manakov was positive about the results of that 'high priority' work. I hope that I was right for Manakov is a great optimist. The VDU (the external movements control motor in the Sofora- girder) is still unserviceable due to software problems. Of great concern for crew and experts remain the complicated systems to maintain the climate in that what is like an 'iron lung'. In contradiction to the 'iron lungs' for medical use this one has to feed and regenerate itself. Wear of parts of that complicated complex results in malfunctioning, so the crew repeatedly gets warnings about hitches, but also by more noise than originally had been foreseen. Daily they speak about the BKV-3, a system to restore the condition of the air. When the crew gets permission to switch that system off (getting the command G-24), they enjoy the silence. Polishchuk did a lot of repair work on that BKV-3.
EXTRA VEHICULAR ACTIVITIES (EVA-S):
Shortly we can hear the crew speak about preparations for a series of 4 EVA-s. For the 1st one the 16th of April has been mentioned. During the first 3 EVA-s the cosmonauts will have to replace the solar panels from the Kristall module to the Kvant-1. The 4th one is for the removal of materials which for a long time had been exposed to the influences of open space. The solar panels have to be replaced to make future operations possible. To execute the planned docking operations of Buran and Space Shuttle to that Kristall module it has to be redocked to the forward axial (PKhO) docking port. A second reason to replace those solar panels is the fact that some solar panels hinder other ones. Daily the crew has to economise the power consumption of the complex. Polishchuk is responsible for that and in Manakov's opinion he is an expert in that field.
Possibly the plans for the launch of the Modules Priroda and Spektr have been altered. The first Module to be launched for a docking with Mir should be a technological one. So Priroda is 2d on schedule. This is a pity for Priroda is ready for launch.
RETURN CAPSULES: Progress-M16 does not carry such a capsule and the use of such a container from Progress-M17 has not been planned. The return capsules are for 100% reliable, but due to the little amount of freight to be brought back, return capsule operations are too expensive.
Chris van den Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202.
Unmanned resupply vessel to Mir. Conducted docked and undocked longevity spacecraft longevity tests. Docked with Mir on 1 Apr 1993 05:16:18 GMT. Undocked on 11 Aug 1993 15:36:42 GMT. Destroyed in reentry over the South Atlantic on 3 Mar 1994 03:28:00 GMT. Total free-flight time 204.56 days. Total docked time 132.43 days.
During checks of the Soyuz-carrier rocket, which had to launch Progress-M18 for a flight to the space station on 19 May 1993, experts discovered a technical deficiency. They decided to postpone the launch. At the earliest the launch is possible on 22 May 1993. If so, the launch will take place at abt. 0640 UTC that day.
Progress-M18's cargo is essential for the execution of the planning for this and next year. In the first place it has to deliver the replacement of the lost key (or: handle) for the operations with the crane Strela. During the next planned spacewalks the crew needs that Strela for the transfer of the solar panels from Kristall to Kvant-1. Progress-M18 also will bring new equipment and spare parts for the replacement or repairs of worn-out systems, but also equipment and experiments to be used during the French expedition 'Altair' in July this year.
Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202.
Unmanned resupply vessel to Mir. Last launch using Soyuz-U2 launch vehicle. Docked with Mir's front port on 24 May 1993 08:24:44 GMT. In addition to other supplies, carried repair equipment for a spacewalk device damaged a month before. Undocked on 3 Jul 1993 15:58:16 GMT, with Soyuz TM-17 docking at the same port only minutes later at 17:45 GMT. Meanwhile, Progress M-17 remained docked to the Kvant rear port on a longevity test. Progress M-18 was destroyed in reentry on 4 Jul 1993 17:13:00 GMT. Total free-flight time 3.12 days. Total docked time 40.31 days.
On 1 July 1993 at 1433 UTC the transport ship Soyuz-TM17 was launched for a flight of 2 days to the Mir Space station. The first crew had been chosen and so Soyuz-TM17 was manned by Tsibliyev, Serebrov and the Frenchman Haignere. The French women cosmonaut Claudie Andre-Deshays will have to wait until 1996 for her flight on board the Mir station to conduct experiments of the French program Cassiopea. 3 Hours after launch Soyuz-TM17 came in our range (orbit 3, 1734 UTC) and strong signals of the 5 transmitters could be monitored (922.755, 165.873, 166.130, 166.140 and 121.750 mc). Tsibliyev reported that all was normal and that health and mood of the crew were excellent. They already had taken off their spacesuits and had just entered the 'life-compartment'. At 1656 UTC they had re-oriented their ship. This crew uses the call 'Ceres', so respectively Ceres-1, Ceres-2 and Ceres-3. So Haignere is 'Ceres-3'. During his return flight on 22 July 1993 he will be a member of Manakov's crew, the Vulkans, and then Haignere will use the call 'Vulkan-3'. During the pass in orbit 4, 1903 UTC, Tsibliyev reported all details about the 2nd orbit correction, which was executed during that pass. All went as scheduled. This had been also the case with the 1st orbit correction. Tsibliyev reported details about this correction as well for during that correction Soyuz-TM17 was out of range of tracking stations. Among the reported data were the times (in seconds) during which the S.K.D. (engines) worked, the gained speed in M/sec, the so called SIRT (fuel consumption in KG) and some pressures in tanks. During the pass in orb. 5 (2036 UTC) again radio traffic loud and clear. During the next pass the cosmonauts slept. At 221345 UTC Soyuz-T17 could be seen passing the TCA as a clear star in elevation 39 degrees. On 2 July 1993 Soyuz-TM17 will be flying autonomously. She will pass at abt. 30 minutes after Mir. Towards midnight Soyuz-TM17 as well as Mir can be observed visually if weather conditions are good. Docking can be expected on 3 July 1993 between 1615 and 1620 UTC, so not long after the first pass of both objects. If the Russians will stick to previous plans the freighter Progress-M17 will undock under observation of the approaching S- TM17. Soyuz-TM17 will dock to the docking port from where Progress-M17 undocked.
Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202.
Mir Expedition EO-14. Carried Vasili Tsibliyev, Alexander Serebrov, Jean-Pierre Haignere to Mir; returned Serebrov, Tsibliyev to Earth. Progress M-18 undocked from Mir's front port at around 17:25 GMT on July 3, and Soyuz TM-17 docked at the same port only 20 minutes later at 17:45 GMT.
This ship with on board the relief crew and the Frenchman Haignere docked to Mir (forward docking port) on 3.07.93 at 1624 UTC. The docking took place in the automatic mode (Kurs-system). Before Soyuz-TM17 began her final approach the freighter Progress-M17 had to undock. So a few minutes before the final approach Progress-M17 undocked and was brought in a safe distance from Mir. This happened before Mir, Soyuz-TM17 and Progress-M17 came in our range. During the pass in orb. 42169, 1607-1612 UTC, radio traffic could be monitored on 121.750 mc and 143.625 mc. Serebrov reported that he would obey the order to go into the landing module immediately. Neither of the crews commented the final approach. There had been a long transmission via Altair, which ended a few minutes before docking. Good images of the complex (by Soyuz-TM17's cameras) and the docking port could be seen. During the pass in orb. 42170, 1742 UTC, it was obvious that all was well: the hatches had been opened and the first meeting between the 2 crews had already taken place. Mir started to transmit to TsUP the video recordings of the approach and the welcome of the new crew. All cosmonauts, also Tsibliyev, Serebrov and Haignere, could be heard via 143.625 mc. During this pass Mir also transmitted on 145.550 mc. Via the digital memory microphone Polishchuk could be heard with a greeting of P. and Manakov to a conference of radio-amateurs in (probably) St. Petersburg. During the next pass (orb. 42171, 1915 UTC, Mir transmitted on 145.550, 143.625 and 144.475 mc. After a CQ-call in Russian and English, Haignere spoke in French with the radio-amateur Francis, FC1OKN.
Altair: From 4.07 until 22.07.93 Haignere, in co-operation with his Russian colleagues, will conduct experiments in the framework of the French scientific program Altair.
Spacewalks: If all goes according to previous planning the new crew (the 14th main expedition to the Mir station) will make 3 spacewalks.
Progress-M17: This freighter still flew autonomously in the night from 3 to 4.07.93 and was visually observed by Mr. Wim Holwerda (Working group artificial satellites) during Mir's pass in orb. 42174, 2227 UTC, at abt. 8 KM behind Mir. Wim also saw the 3d stage of the rocket which gave Soyuz-TM17 the last 'push' on 1.07.93. Progress-M17 carries a return capsule. In a next Mir-report I hope to tell somewhat about the fate of Progress-M17 and that capsule.
Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202.
This French scientific mission goes according to plan. Haignere stated that all experiments are going well. The only problem is the fact that they have a lot of work to do. On 14.07.93 due to their work a direct TV-report in which a conversation with President Mitterand had to be cancelled or did not take place due to lack of comm. channels. H. is feeling well. No space sickness, no headache or other pains, he sleeps well and has a good appetite. H. praises the good amicable sphere among the crew members, which guarantees a good co-operation. H., call F6Mir, enjoys the possibilities of radio-amateurism: as soon as France is in range he has long conversations with French radio-amateurs. On 11.07.93 in orb. 42293, 1324 UTC, he also got the opportunity to speak with his parents. He had to ask one of the amateurs to leave the frequency (144.475 mc) for he was not able to hear his mother. On this frequency also a lot of P/R traffic. H.'s presence on board Mir caused a remarkable increase of French amateur-calls on Mir's P/R.
Mir-crew: Manakov is still captain of the Mir-complex and this he shows clearly. During every pass he tightly holds the microphone. Now and then Polishchuk and Serebrov can be heard; Tsybliyev, who has to take over command one of these days, rarely speaks with TsUP.
Progress-M17: During the experiment 'Rodeo' on 3.07.93 this freighter undocked from the Mir station while Soyuz-TM17 was waiting for the docking port freed by Progress-M17. Progress-M17 undocked at 1553 UTC. Soyuz-TM17 docked to Mir at 1624 UTC. The return-capsule of Progress-M17 landed safely in Kazakhstan at 1802 UTC.
Soyuz-TM16: With this ship, now still attached to the Kristall- Module, Manakov, Polishchuk and Haignere will return to earth on 22.07.93. The landing is expected at about 0630 UTC.
Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202.
Movements of Progress-M's and Soyuz-TM's in the near future:
Progress-M18: Will undock from Mir and decay in the atmosphere on 24.07.93 (so 2 days after the departure of Soyuz-TM16).
Progress-M19: Launch from Baykonur on 27.07.93.
Progress-M20: Launch from Baykonur on 12.10.93.
Soyuz-TM18 : Launch from Baykonur with crew Afanasyev and Usachov on 16.11.93.
Progress-M21: Launch from Baykonur on 30.11.93.
In May 1994 there will be a flight of a Soyuz-TM to Mir with on board Malenchenko and Strekalov. (Strekalov replaced Kaleri, because he has more experience than Kaleri.) The 3d crew member will be a physician for a long duration flight of one and a half year. For this flight 3 physicians are selected, one of them will fly, namely Polyakov, Arzamazov and Morukov.
The Russians have the intention to launch Module Spektr on 20.12.93 for a flight to Mir. This long expected extension will be welcomed by the crew of the 15th Main expedition to Mir: Afanasyev and Usachov.
Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202.
SAFE AND SOFT LANDING AT 064200 UTC.
Soyuz-TM16 landed safely in near the city Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan. The ballistic section of Professor Ivanov again deserves admiration for their excellent work: the landing took place 23 seconds later than calculated. During this flight the crews of Mir and Soyuz-TM16 as well had to do somewhat extra in this field for at the moment of undocking the objects were out of range of NIP (measurement points on earth). So they had to take care for the actual attitudes during undocking and thereafter. Data for this operation they got during radio traffic with TsUP on 21.07.93. Just after the separation of the Life compartment (BO) and the Motor block from the Landing module (SA) the SA entered the dense layers of the atmosphere at 061817 UTC surrounded by the fire of the plasma. At a distance of appr. 400 KM the crew on board Mir was able to observe this through porthole nr. 9. At 062655 UTC the main parachute opened and the landing took place at 064200 UTC. So the crew of the 13th Main expedition to Mir, Manakov and Polishchuk, and the French 'spacionaute' Haignere accomplished their flights. H. was able to execute the French scientific program Altair. The last days of his flight he felt tired due to the huge amount of work, which was necessary to get a maximum profit of such an expensive flight. H. was very satisfied about his work on board but also about his activities as a radio- amateur and he was very grateful to make a lot good QSO-s with French and other amateurs.
Mir: On board Mir are now the cosmonauts Tsybliyev and Serebrov. Their official calls are not 'Ceres' as has been published earlier, but respectively Sirius-1 and 2. Their calls for radio- amateur activities are resp. R3Mir and R4Mir. Ts. en S. will work in open space 3 times in September this year to accomplish the transfer of the solar batteries from the Kristall-module to Kvant-1.
In a next Mir-report I hope to give attention to the last days of the presence of 5 cosmonauts on board Mir.
Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202.