On 26.10 Solovyov reported enormous forest fires in the area of Barnaul (Siberia). The crew had discovered the fire already the day before, but now these fires had considerably increased. Along a front of 100 KM the fire moved to the North-West. Solovyov wondered why the media did not give any information about these fires. As of Monday, 27.10, the preparations for the 1st EVA on 3.11.97 began. The crew got comprehensive instructions, i.e. a video-simulation of the operation and a huge amount of documentation.
During the following days they collected and took stock off the equipment needed for the spacewalk and they replaced goods from the airlock and the scientific- and instrument compartment of the Kvant-2 module to other locations in the complex. The crew checked the 2 Orlan M suits and the communication systems during the EVA. On Friday, 31.10, these preparations were concluded during a long communications session via Altair-2 in which TsUP transmitted video images of the areas in which the cosmonauts have to work during the EVA. These areas cannot be fully seen via the portholes of the complex.
During this video session the cosmonauts asked a lot of questions and got additional instructions. The crew also downlinked images of one of the solar panels which did not regularly turn. It sometimes stopped and went on stuttering (Thus far I do not know which panel.)
During radio traffic in orb. 66833 (0918-0926 UTC) the crew spoke with Sergey Samburov, RV3DR, grandson of the famous rocket pioneer Tsiolkovskiy, about the minisputnik PS-2 (also named Sputnik 40 and RS-17), which will be launched by Vinogradov during the EVA on 3.11. The cosmonauts had already checked the transmitters and heard the Blieb Blieb signals. Samburov, the radio-amateur mentor of all cosmonauts, urged them not to forget to switch on the transmitters before deploying the satellite. They have to do that after donning of the spacesuits.
On 3.11.97, from 0130 UTC (opening hatch) until appr. 0700 UTC. On 6.11.97, from 0030 UTC until appr. 0600 UTC. Don't forget to monitor 145.820 and 145.840 mc for the Sputnik ' Bliebs' during Mir's passes in the morning of 3.11.97.
Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202.