Space Station Mir


Girl using telescope

Guess what?

Dr. Valeri Polyakov, a Russian cosmonaut, was in space from January 8, 1994 to March 1995. He holds the record for the longest continuous stay in space.

During the 15 years it was in orbit, Russia's Mir space station provided a home in space for more than one hundred cosmonauts and astronauts from at least twelve different countries. Mir consisted of seven modules that were launched over a ten-year period of time. The modules were designed so that they could be moved around to adapt to the needs of different missions. The first module, Mir's core building block, was launched on February 20, 1986. Living quarters, life support systems, power sources and research areas were all contained in the core module. Mir was equipped with docking ports for Soyuz-TM and Progress-M spacecraft. The manned Soyuz-TM spacecraft was used to transport crews and cargo to and from the station. The unmanned Progress-M craft carried equipment and data to and from Mir and also removed waste material from the station.

MIR Space Station
The Mir Space Station
Atlantis docked with Mir
Atlantis docked with Mir
Over 16,500 different technical and scientific experiments were carried out aboard Mir. Kvant-1, the astrophysics module, provided information for research into the physics of active galaxies, quasars, and neutron stars. Kvant-2, the scientific and airlock module, provided biological research data, Earth observation data, and information on the effects of space exposure on electronics and construction materials.

The specialized modules and components added to Mir over its years of operation raised its mass to more than 100 tons. The total volume of the different modules was nearly 400 cubic meters. Twenty-seven different countries manufactured parts for Mir. During its fifteen-year life in space, Mir completed 86,331 Earth orbits traveling at speeds averaging 28,225 km (17,500 miles) per hour.

The Progress cargo ship that ended Mir's 2.1 billion-mile space journey was launched in January of 2001. Once it had docked with Mir, two firings of the Progress engines slowed Mir's orbit and changed its shape from circular to elliptical. A third Progress engine firing pushed Mir into the upper layers of Earth's atmosphere. Most of the station disintegrated as it fell through Earth's atmosphere. The pieces that remained created a man-made meteor shower as they plunged into the South Pacific on March 23, 2001. The Mir space station was the largest man-made object to ever fall from orbit.

A Question

Why was there no standard description of the shape of Mir Space Station?

Girl holding rocket

Did you know?
Did you know?

The Answer
The Answer


The StarChild site is a service of the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC), Dr. Alan Smale (Director), within the Astrophysics Science Division (ASD) at NASA/ GSFC.

StarChild Authors: The StarChild Team
StarChild Graphics & Music: Acknowledgments
StarChild Project Leader: Dr. Laura A. Whitlock
Curator: J.D. Myers
Responsible NASA Official: Phil Newman