The future of the station: The promise to take a decision about Mir's near future before the end of this year has not been kept. The last information about an eventual decision was that this will take place before 15.01.2000, although it is not clear if this will happen. The Head of the RAKA, the Russian NASA, is against the prolongation of the exploitation of the Mir-station. Nevertheless he accepted 2 draft scenario's between which the ultimate choice has to be made. Which of the 2 will be chosen depends on the destination of the money 1.5 billion rubles (approx. 58 million dollars) earmarked for the Mir-exploitation. In the opinion of Koptev this money is badly needed for other purposes, for instance for communication, meteorological, navigation and military satellites, but also for the Russian obligations in the framework of the ISS. A week ago Koptev assured Goldin that Russia will stick to her promise to take the Mir-complex out of orbit.
The first draft plan, assuming that the Mir-station will be de-orbited in 2000, starts with the launch of the tanker Progress-M1 number. 1 on 24.01.2000 and concludes with the de-orbiting of the complex on 30.06.2000. This plan also foresees in an extra manned mission, the Main Expedition 28, consisting of 2 Russians (launch foreseen on 30.04.2000) and 1 extra tanker, the Progress-M1 number. 2.
The second draft plan, supported by RKK Energiya, foresees in the continuation of the Mir-exploitation during the whole year 2000. Apart from Main Expedition 28, there should be a Main Expedition 29 and the delivery of 3 tankers of the Progress-M1 type. This plan does not include a planned date for an eventual de-orbit of the complex before 1.01.2001.
I wish you all a smooth transfer to the New Millennium (still convinced that this starts on the first second of the first day of the next year 2000), a Happy and Prosperous New Year and the acceptance and the execution of the 2nd plan.
Chris van den Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202
Whitson and Tani began the day with the daily reading of SLEEP (Sleep-Wake Actigraphy & Light Exposure during Spaceflight) experiment data accumulated during the night, for logging and filling in questionnaire entries in the experiment's session file on the HRF-1 laptop for downlink. (To monitor the crewmembers' sleep/wake patterns and light exposure, Dan and Peggy wear a special Actiwatch device which measures the light levels encountered by him as well as his patterns of sleep and activity throughout the Expedition. The log entries are done within 15 minutes of final awakening for seven consecutive days, as part of the crew's discretionary 'job jar' task list.) Additional Details: ISS On-Orbit Status 12/29/07.