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MIR space station A view from the space shuttle as it docks with Mir
A view from the space shuttle as it docks with Mir
The year began badly when the space station lost power after a fault in its main computer caused its solar panels to stop tracking the Sun. The inside of the space station also grew hotter. By March, temperatures in parts of the space station had risen to over 32 Celsius (90 F). Despite the installation of a new air conditioner, the temperature remained an uncomfortable 28 C (82 F) for crewmembers.

Flight Commander Talgut Musabayev told Russian mission control the crew were being overworked and were making mistakes due to lack of rest. Because of political opposition to the presence of astronauts on Mir following its near catastrophes in 1997, the head of Nasa Dan Goldin had to declare Mir officially “safe” for two US astronauts to visit in 1998.

Two space shuttle missions docked with Mir in June for the last time.

The end was in sight for the ageing Mir. In November, the Russians launched Zarya, the first part of the new International Space Station (ISS).

Nasa said that Russia could not maintain both the ISS and Mir and pressed for the old platform to be scrapped.

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