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Wednesday, December 17, 1997 Published at 17:25 GMT


New setback for Mir
image: [ Catalogue of problems onboard the ageing space station ]
Catalogue of problems onboard the ageing space station

The Russian space agency in Moscow has abandoned a project to photograph damage caused to the space station Mir during its collision in space last June.

A space robot was launched to film the outside of the ageing space station. But it was found after it had been deployed that its cameras were facing the wrong way.

[ image: Mir astronauts dogged by problems]
Mir astronauts dogged by problems
The mission was abandoned when scientists said they were unable to adjust the orientation of the cameras.

The Russo-German designed robot was due to fly around Mir and send footage back to earth of the outside of the space station.

The main aim of the mission was to test the space robot as an alternative to space walks as a means of examining the outside of space stations.

[ image: Mir badly damaged in June]
Mir badly damaged in June
As well as testing the robot's capacity to contribute to the future international space programme, Mission Control in Moscow had hoped it could discover what damage had been caused to Mir's Spektr module by the collision with a supply vessel in June.

Mir was badly damaged when a module collided with the space station during a practise docking, damaging a key solar panel and cutting electricity supplies by half.

The Mir crew resumed a normal programme of scientific experiments a month ago after two Russian cosmonauts went on a space walk to fixed a new solar panel.


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