The Russian Space Station Mir
The Russian Space Station Mir has orbited the earth for the last 14 years. It has been very successful, even though it was only supposed to be in orbit for 5 years. Many discoveries have been made in its laboratories. One is that turnip seeds grow slower in space than on Earth because of no gravity. Why that effects the turnip seed may be because in no gravity the seed may have trouble taking root. Scientists are still doing experiments on Mir and the International Space Station to find out.
Mir was launched by the Soviet Union (now Russia) in 1987 during the space race with the United States. The space race was when The Soviet Union and United States were trying to get better space technology then each other, to prove they were better than each other.
7 Modules That Make Up Mir
Mir is made up of 7 modules. They are The Core Module, Kristall, Kvant, Kvant 2, Spektr, Priroda, and a docking module. The Core Module provides living area, life support (air, water), thermal control (heat control), 10.1 kilowatts of power and docking ports. In was launched in 1987. Kristall provides remote servicing (fixing of hard to reach places), 5.5 kilowatts of power and a docking node. It was launched in 1996. Kvant provides 6 kilowatts of power, astronomy (observation of the stars), some of the life support and docking. It was launched in 1987. Kvant 2 provides remote sensing, life support, an EVA airlock (an air lock to let people go outside), and provides 6.9 kilowatts of power. It was launched in 1989. Spektr provides geophysical sciences (how things react in space), remote sensing (observation of hard to reach places) housing of U.S. payloads, and no power at this time because the solar panels are seriously damaged. It was launched in 1995. Priroda provides remote sensing (observation of hard to reach places) and earth science. It was launched in 1996. The docking module lets United States shuttles dock with Mir.
Inside Of Mir
The inside of Mir is very cramped, but cozy. The inside appears to have a floor and ceiling, even though in space there is none, because of no gravity. The "floors" are carpeted and the "ceiling’ and "walls" are painted in soft colors. In each cabin, (there are 6 in all) there is a porthole chair and sleeping bag strapped to the floor so you don’t float away while sleeping. In the living area there is a table connected to the floor, a cooking area, and trash storage. Mir also has a collapsible shower, suction toilet, and a sink.
How Many People Mir Can Hold
Since 1987 another crew constantly replaces the crew on Mir every time they leave. That means since 1987 Mir has been constantly manned. Normally it has 2-3 astronauts and cosmonauts (Russian astronauts) in it at one time, even though it can hold up to 6 people. That is because the Russian Souaz Re-entry craft that gets people to and from Mir can only hold three people. So if there was an emergency and they needed to evacuate the crew and there were 6 people on Mir, only 3 could escape.
Changes With Mir
Because of the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and Russia taking over, things changed on Mir. The United States was finally allowed to dock with Mir, and they did so in 1995. The United States weren’t allowed to dock with Mir during the space race with the Soviet Union because they were bitter rivals. Also when the first United States shuttle docked with Mir, it ended a long rivalry between The United States and the Soviet Union. There is also United States equipment on the Spektr module.
Why Mir Is So Successful
Over the years the Mir space station has proved very successful, even though there have been fires, deadly anti-freeze fumes, and broken air tanks. There also was a time when a cargo ship carrying supplies crashed into the Spektr module when docking. In caused an air leak and severely damaged the solar panels. Mir was so successful in fact, that the International Space Station will be built in the same way. In closing, I hope that the Mir space station will stay operational for many years to come. But, sadly, Mir will be pulled into the earth’s atmosphere, because of the strong pull of earth’s gravity, around the summer of 2001, burning up. Around that time it will not be manned. Although undesirable, we have known of this, and planned around it for quite a while.