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Russian Space Station Mir Is Back Online

Wed., Sept. 10, 1997

Mir’s crew brought all systems back online after putting in a new main computer Tuesday, replacing the worn-out one after its third breakdown in three months.

The new computer allowed the Russian-U.S. crew on the accident-prone station to restore the gyroscopes, which keep the Mir pointed toward the sun - its source of power.

Russian space officials said they knew it was only a matter of time before the computer simply gave out. The cash-strapped Russian space program prefers to keep using equipment until it dies.

Mir’s crew reacted quickly when the computer failed Monday, said Vladimir Solovyov, chief of Mission Control, and those aboard never were in danger. The shutdown was less troublesome this time because the station was running closer to full power and its solar batteries were fully juiced.

The station’s main computer first went down July 17, and officials said Tuesday that the flight engineer at the time - Alexander Lazutkin - has acknowledged accidentally unplugging it.


 
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