Mir Emergency Escape Profile

The Soyuz-TM spacecraft typically ferried three crewmembers to and from Mir from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. It remained docked with Mir to be available as an escape vehicle in case of emergency, and was sometimes used to make "fly-around" inspections of the station.

Mir Emergency Escape Profile - MPEG (8.7 M) (No Audio)

Progress Collision with Mir

On June 25, 1997, the Progress resupply vehicle, under manual control, collided with the Mir solar array on the Spektr module. Then, the spacecraft hit Spektr itself, punched a hole in a solar panel, buckled a radiator, and breached the integrity of Spektr’s hull.

Progress Collision with Mir - MPEG (13 M) (No Audio)

Mir Uncontrolled Spin

The collision of the Progress resupply vehicle on June 25, 1997 knocked Mir into a spin and the resulting power outage shut down the gyrodynes so that the spin went uncontrolled. To stop the spin and face the arrays toward the Sun, the crew needed to know the spin rate of Mir. However, the computer and other instruments were out of operation. So, in the dark and in the silence, Foale went to the windows in the airlock and held his thumb up to the field of stars. Combining a sailor’s technique with a scientist’s knowledge of physics, Foale estimated the spin rate of the space station. Then, he and Lazutkin radioed the estimates down to the Moscow Control Center. The ground controllers fired Mir’s engines, and that stopped the spin—certainly not perfectly, and in no way permanently; but it showed that it could be done.

Mir Uncontolled Spin (8 M) (No Audio)

Read more about Mike Foale and the
    collision in his Oral History

Read more about the NASA-5 increment

STS-86 Fly-around Inspection

On October 3, 1997, the Atlantis, carrying Mike Foale and the STS-86 crewmembers, undocked from the Mir space station and performed a 46-minute flyaround visual inspection of Mir. During this maneuver, Anatoly Solovyev and Pavel Vinogradov opened a pressure regulation valve to allow air into the Spektr module to determine if STS-86 crewmembers could detect seepage or debris particles that could indicate the location of the breach in the damaged module's hull.

STS-86 Fly-around Inspection - MPEG (16.5 M) (No Audio)

Mir Deorbit

The journey of the 15-year-old Russian space station ended March 23, 2001, as Mir re-entered the Earth's atmosphere near Nadi, Fiji, and fell into the South Pacific. Its downfall - planned and controlled - began around 8 a.m. Moscow time. Engines of a cargo ship docked to Mir were fired causing the station's orbit to brake, starting the Mir's descent. The computer generated images below illustrate the breakup of the 143-ton station as it descended to Earth.

Mir Deorbit animation (11.8 M) (No Audio)

See the CNN footage of the Mir Deorbit -
    MPEG (5.3 M) (No Audio)

Read more about Mir's deorbit

The computer generated animation segments were provided by Analytical Graphics, Inc.