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MIR space station 1986 - 2001
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MIR space station Vladimir Solovyou and Leonid Kizim were the first cosmonauts to visit Mir (Novosti)
Vladimir Solovyou and Leonid Kizim were the first cosmonauts to visit Mir (Novosti)
The first component of Mir, the 20-tonne core component, was launched in February 1986. Coming just weeks after the US Challenger space shuttle accident, the core module was given much fanfare from the USSR. They said it was the first part of a space city that would grow to house dozens of cosmonauts.

The core module was also fitted two tiny crew cabins, each featuring a window. In design it was similar to the previous Salyut 7 space station but with one important exception. Unlike Salyut 7, Mir was designed to have extra modules docked to its exterior. That meant it could grow.

Mir’s first crew, Leonid Kizim and Vladimir Solovyou, made space history when they left Mir to travel to the still in orbit Salyut 7 for two months. They later returned to Mir.

It was the first ever space-station-to-space-station flight. But later that year disaster almost struck when a departing crew’s Soyuz spacecraft malfunctioned, threatening to strand the cosmonauts in space. Eventually they limped home.

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