Mir (Russian Мир 'peace' or 'world' ) was built by the Soviet Union, manned space station that orbited the Earth from 1986 until its controlled crash of 2001. Once I was used in the first years only by the Soviet Union and its affiliated States, she ran the Russian space agency Roskosmos on to the political upheaval in the Soviet bloc and opened it to western countries and their space agencies.

The Mir space station was in its time the largest man-made object in Earth orbit and is - with the Sputnik satellite in 1957 and Yuri Gagarin's first flight in 1961 - as the biggest success of the Soviet space exploration.

  • 2.1 1986 - The first crew
  • 2.2 1987-1989
  • 2.3 1989-1991
  • 2.4 1992-1999 - The Mir under Russian leadership
  • 2.5 The last years

Building and construction

The Mir was the first designed for permanent operation and scientific space station. The Soviet Union had in the 1970s and early 1980s, several stations of the type operated Salyut who served military and scientific objectives and were used up to four years. As this was built the Mir modular and was assembled from several parts successively launched in the course of ten years in space. The main module added six further modules. All modules were launched from Baikonur in Kazakhstan on Proton, down to the docking module for the Space Shuttle. It came to the U.S. ferry Atlantis from the Kennedy Space Centre from into space.

Long-term missions with manned space stations were for the Soviet Union as a means to gain international prestige to the moon after losing the race. In this respect, we went with the Mir - by Soviet standards - new ways. Immediately after the start of the base module of this was made ​​public. About details of the new station was given, even to the Western press, willing to tell. The launch of the first crew was even announced in advance - the first time on a flight without international participation. The United States had with the Skylab missions only one project for a space station in their program.

For years, the me of the only permanent outpost of humanity in space. In addition to many scientific experiments here especially experiences about the long-term stay in space was collected. Individual cosmonauts talked more than a year in the station.

The modular structure of I was taken (ISS ) in the later -built International Space Station. Your Zvezda module is a modified version of the basic block of Me.

The basic module

The base block Mir was launched into space 27 Congress of the CPSU on 19 February 1986. He had six docking port for transport spaceships and expansion modules - the predecessor had two ports. The Mir was designed from the outset as a longer term and larger projects. Four of these ports were used for docking additional modules, the two axial ports were used for manned Soyuz spacecraft and unmanned Progress spacecraft. With the latter, the station with food, water, fuel and material was supplied, raised the orbit of the Mir back regularly and disposed of waste and disused material. A permanently docked Soyuz spacecraft served the crew as a " lifeboat " to abandon the station in an emergency and return to Earth. For security reasons, the team had to go to the Soyuz spacecraft during the docking of another spaceship. The capacity of not more than three cosmonauts each spaceship limited the number of working people on the station.

The basic module served as a residential and recreational area of the crew and had hygienic facilities for the crew and the technical equipment for control, position control and communication. His starting weight was 20.4 tons with a total length of 13.30 meters and a diameter of 4.20 meters. The power supply was over solar modules. About free coupling adapter, it was possible to leave the station for outdoor use. The crew consisted of two or three cosmonauts. It was at times supplemented by a three-member visiting team. From the Salyut 7, the last stop of the previous type, T-15 pieces of equipment were taken in the mission Soyuz. Thus were the same for five years, two Soviet space stations in orbit, of which - except for a few weeks - only I was used.

The science module Kwant

The module Kvant was launched on 31 March 1987 after delay docked in the docking on April 9 at the station and was the first module to extend the space station. In contrast to the following modules Kvant docked not on the coupling node, but directly to the final location in the longitudinal axis at the rear of the base module. A day later, the crew of the Mir ( Yuri Romanenko and Alexander Lawejkin ) entered the new module and took it into operation. Kwant served scientific papers, mostly astrophysical investigations. Since it occupied one of the two axial docking sites, Kwant decreed his hand through another docking point for Soyuz and Progress spacecraft and of relevant pumps and pipes to route the supplied fuel in the base module. The starting weight was eleven tons, length 5.30 meters and 4.35 meters in diameter. 1992, a solar sail of the module crystal was mounted on Kwant, until 1995 a completely new solar system was installed.

The science module Kvant 2

Kvant module 2 was started on November 26, 1989 and are connected laterally with the ten days later coupling module of the base block. It served the optical observation of the Earth and for biotechnological experiments. In addition, it had facilities for personal hygiene of cosmonauts, life support facilities and an improved phase- lock. More solar cells supplemented the energy supply. The starting weight was 19.6 tons with a length of 12.20 meters.

The science module crystal ( Kwant 3)

The third module crystal was launched on 31 May 1990 and joined ten days later opposite Kvant 2 with the coupling node of the base module. Crystal was built mainly for biological and materials science experiments. Two additional androgynous docking port were provided for the planned space shuttle Buran and also planned a telescope, but have never used it.

June 27, 1995 because the docked space shuttle "Atlantis" at ( mission STS -71). Crystal had to be laboriously converted it to the radial position on the Mir- coupling adapter so that the space shuttle did not touch the I or their bodies and damaged. After that Crystal had to be moved to the original position again to clear the radial docking point for Soyuz spacecraft and Progress feeder.

How Kwant 2 crystal possessed additional solar cells. Weight and dimensions similar to those of Kvant 2 To facilitate the docking of the Space Shuttle and to make room for the Spektr module, it was moved to a later date to a different piece 90 degrees and supplemented by a special shuttle docking module. One of the solar panels was transferred in 1992 to the Kvant module.

The science module Spektr

On May 20, 1995, the Spectr module is started and twelve days later connected at the place of the reacted module crystal with the base block. Spektr had facilities for the exploration of the Earth's atmosphere, geophysical processes and cosmic radiation. For the first time there was scientific equipment for the planned NASA Shuttle -Mir program on board. With its x - shaped arrangement of four solar modules to Spektr differed externally strongly from the other modules. The takeoff weight of 20 tons corresponded to that of the other modules, with approximately 14 meters Spektr was the longest of all six modules. In an accident on 25 June 1997, it was so badly damaged that it could be used in the future only to supply energy.

The docking module for the Space Shuttle ( Shuttle Docking Module)

With the U.S. Space Shuttle Atlantis is a docking module was on 13 November 1995 into space and connected three days later with the module crystal. The 4.70 meter long part simplified docking compared to the previously used dock of the Buran. In the total of eleven Shuttle -Mir missions, the module was eight times used. Once we docked directly to Kristall, twice there was a convergence of space without coupling.

The research module Priroda

With the launch on 23 April 1996 Priroda module and three days later took place coupling the base block opposite the crystal module of the Mir expansion reached its final stage. Priroda had facilities for remote sensing and research for microgravity. With twelve meters in length and 19 tons in weight corresponded to its dimensions the modules Kvant 2 and Kristall.

In the final stage of the Mir had a total weight of about 135 tons, a wingspan of 31 meters and a total length of 33 meters.


The space station was visited by a total of 96 cosmonauts. 19 of them entered the station twice, Alexander and Anatoli Soloviev Viktorenko four times five times. The longest time spent on board the Russian cosmonaut Valeri Polyakov: He worked 679 days aboard Mir. From January 1994 to May 1995 he presented with 438 days in space a new record for human residence time in space as part of a mission. The long period was considered as a test for a possible manned flight to Mars - the flight to the red planet takes about a year.

1986 - The first crew

The first crew of Expedition Soyuz T-15 with the cosmonauts Leonid Kizim and Vladimir Solovyov was launched March 13, 1986 and entered the station two days later to put them into operation. Among the tasks included, among other things, to discharge the 25 and 26 delivered by the Progress cargo ships and equipment to install. As a special feature, a 50 - day trip to the space station Salyut 7 was made ​​to wait for them and take over a part of the equipment for me. This was the most unique flight a crew between two space stations. After returning to Earth on 16 July 1986, the Mir station remained vacant for more than half a year.


With the mission Soyuz TM -2 and the cosmonaut Yuri Romanenko and Alexander Lawejkin, the Baikonur left on 5 February 1987, the first period of over two years, in which the station with changing teams was occupied without interruption began. It ended in April 1989 with the mission of Soyuz TM- seventh In these years, visited the Syrian Muhammed Ahmed Faris, Abdul Ahad Mohmand the Afghans and the Frenchman Jean -Loup Chrétien the first non -Soviet spacemen the station. The station was at this time the target of six missions, during the Kvant module was connected and put into operation.


After a break of more than four months - due to technical problems with the Soyuz spacecraft - began with Soyuz TM-8 in September 1989, the second phase of use, during which the station for nearly ten years - until August 1999 - permanently remained occupied and has been removed. Nine flights of the U.S. space shuttle and 22 flights with Soviet Soyuz spacecraft docked to during this time. In this period of political upheaval in the Soviet Union, which also led to a turning point in the operation of Mir fell.

The collaboration started with others, including Western states has continued. In December 1990, the Japanese journalist Toyohiro Akiyama flew to the station. He was followed by 1991, the first British spaceflight Helen Sharman and the first Austrian astronaut Franz Viehböck.

The two cosmonauts of Soyuz TM -13 mission, Alexander Volkov and Sergei Krikaljow, as Soviet citizens entered the station and returned to Earth as Russian citizens. In their residence time, the election of Boris Yeltsin as President of the Russian Federation, the Moscow coup and the end of the USSR fell. Due to the circumstances, they had to extend their stay, unplanned by half a year. Krikaljow returned after 311 days on 25 March 1992 back to earth.

1992-1999 - The Mir under Russian leadership

After the political changes in the countries of the Soviet Union increasingly visited spaceman western states the station whose operation was led by Russia. With the arrival of the mission EO - 11, the new era began on board the - now - Russian station.

In 1992, with Klaus- Dietrich Flade the first German. He was followed on September 3, 1995 Thomas Reiter, who was part of the Mir- 20 long-term occupation, it followed in 1997 Reinhold Ewald and the Frenchman Michel Tognini. 1994 visited the German ESA astronaut Ulf Merbold Mir, who had previously been twice on the Space Shuttle in orbit.

In addition to further expansion of the station began in 1995, the first American astronaut from Baikonur in a Soyuz spacecraft to Mir. In June of the same year began the first of eleven Shuttle -Mir missions. As part of the STS- 71 Space Shuttle Atlantis docked with the Russian space station. In September, visited the German Thomas Reiter Mir and remained 179 days on board. At the same time the first art exhibition took place there in Earth orbit " Ars ad astra " instead.

1996, the configuration of the station with the module PRIRODA was terminated. The longest stay in space by an American astronaut was celebrated on Mir: John Blaha spent in the same year, 118 days on the station.

The last years

On 20 November 1998 started with Zarya, the first module of the International Space Station. NASA leadership tried to persuade the Russian government, which I give up as soon as possible. For now, Russia decided against it, but refrained to replace it landed on August 28, 1999 Crew of Soyuz TM -29 with a new one. In 1999, in the Netherlands the MirCorp, a company that is trying to ensure the survival of Mir through private means. Among the considerations were also uses for space tourism.

With Soyuz TM -29 in 1999 visited the Frenchman Jean -Pierre Haigneré and the first Slovak astronaut Ivan Bella Mir. With Soyuz TM -30 was launched on April 4th 2000 was the last crew to Mir, after remaining seven months unused. Funded by MirCorp mission of the cosmonauts Sergei Saljotin and Alexander Kaleri lasted 72 days and was the 39th visit of a manned spaceship. They carried out maintenance to ensure the continued stay in orbit. At the time of her return in June 2000, the Russian space program still hoped to be able to operate the Mir by Western funds for two more years. The hopes were dashed in the face of maintenance costs and the burden on the simultaneous maintenance of two space stations. On 23 October 2000 came the official Off. The Russian proposal to incorporate parts of me to build the ISS, was from the U.S. side - despite the savings associated - discarded.

In the early morning hours of 23 March 2001, I was placed with three braking thrusts of the last Progress space freighter for the controlled re-entry into the atmosphere. More than 1500 (about 40 tons ) is not burned up debris of collapsed station at 6:57 clock southeast of the Fijian islands in the Pacific Ocean. The center of the crash site was located at coordinates 44 ° 12 ' s/150 ° W - 44.2 - 150th

In its 15 - year history, originally designed for a service life of seven years, station orbited the Earth 86 325 times at an altitude of 390 kilometers above the earth's surface.

The list of manned missions to the Mir space station contains a description of all manned space flights, the astronauts with the Soyuz spaceships or any of the Space Shuttle brought to the station.

Breakdowns and accidents

Technical glitches were towards the end of the lifetime of doubts about the reliability of the station to pay. By successfully addressing the incidents but also lessons to be learned, who helped build the International Space Station.

On February 24, 1997, ignited a chemical oxygen generator, a so-called oxygen candle. It developed toxic smoke that forced on board for carrying oxygen masks both Russian and German astronaut Reinhold Ewald. The firm reaction of the Mir- occupant prevented a premature return to Earth, and the air was cleaned within a day. Two weeks after this incident, the primary oxygen supply failed, it had to be switched to the secondary. Due to a defect in the control systems for manual maneuvers were only possible. The ailing Russian communications satellite system only allowed for ten minutes radio contact with the Moscow ground station per orbit of the earth.

Although NASA announced its doubts in further cooperation with Russia on Mir in early 1997, launched after repair of onboard systems on 15 May 1997, the Atlantis to the station and replaced the American Jerry Linenger aboard by Michael Foale from.

A month later, on 25 June 1997, due to an error when docking the Progress M -34 collided supply spacecraft with the station. The damaged Spektr module was leaking and had to be sealed by damage to the solar panels of the module was a third of the energy supply. The problems were solved on board two months later with a crew exchange.

On 26 September 1997 re- launched the Atlantis to the Mir, after there had been much controversy at NASA, whether to continue the Shuttle -Mir missions ever after series of mishaps.