Mir Today, Gone Tomorrow
Wired News Report
9:00 a.m. 1.Jun.99.PDT
Russian space officials said Tuesday that the financially challenged Mir space station will be abandoned in August. Government funding for Mir expires in August, and the agency has been unable to secure permanent private funding.
When the final cosmonauts returns home, the Russian Space Agency says it will gradually lower Mir's orbit until it reaches about 125 miles. A final command from ground control will send it to a fiery death in Earth's atmosphere.
If any pieces of the station survive, they will drop harmlessly into the Pacific, RSA officials said.
The agency is hedging its bets, however. Cosmonauts will install equipment that will allow the station to be controlled manually from the ground. If new funding is found, Mir could be kept operable.
Gina "Nanogirl" Miller
"Nanotechnology: solutions for the future."