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Mir Space Station

Design And Construction, Collaboration

The longest continuous presence of man in space began in 1989, with the Russian launch of a 20.4 ton cylinder that formed the core of the space station called Mir. By 1996, a total of six modules had been linked to complete the sprawling station, which has been likened to a spaceborne assembly of tinkertoys. To build Mir, the Russians drew from lessons learned with the Salyut stations of the 1970s and 1980s. The stations were simple and robust, but compact and with limited lifespans. Engineered from the beginning for expansion, Mir was designed for regular resupply, and with nearly self-contained oxygen, power, and water generation capabilities.

Designed for five years in orbit, the station far remained spaceborne until deliberately deorbited in a spectacular reentry on March 23, 2001.

During its operational lifespan the station provided a zero-gravity laboratory for mankind, and saw the dawn of true international cooperation in planning joint space missions. Mir outlasted its creators. Launched by the Soviet Union, it was deorbited by the Russian Federation space program.


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