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MIR space station Journalist Toyohiro Akiyama poses with cosmonaut Viktor Afanasyev (Novosti)
Journalist Toyohiro Akiyama poses with cosmonaut Viktor Afanasyev (Novosti)
The Kristall module, a multi-purpose laboratory, was added to Mir in June this year. It had extra solar arrays to contribute to Mirís power demands. It also had a docking port, which was designed to accommodate the Soviet Buran space shuttle, but was never used for this purpose after the Buran project was abandoned.

The Soyuz TM-10 capsule suffered problems when it docked with Mir in August. Its thermal insulation blankets, designed to protect it from the extremes of space, worked loose and cosmonauts had to perform a hazardous spacewalk to repair it.

The first journalist, Japanese Toyohiro Akiyama, visited the station in 1990. Akiyama conducted live reports from Mir for a Tokyo-based television channel.

His visit was part of a $20m deal with a Japanese TV station but, suffering from acute space sickness, he did not have a very productive flight.

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