by Ben Huset
November '95

Yuri Gidzenko, Thomas Reiter and Sergei Avdeyev

The C.I.S. manned space station Mir with Mir-20 (call sign 'Uran') Cosmonauts Yuri Gidzenko, Sergei Avdeyev and Thomas (DF4TR / DP0MIR) Reiter and will be appearing in the mid west evening skies October 15th to November 6th, 1995 and returning to the morning skies November 19th to December 6th.

Amateur radio operators can log into the Mir 'Packet' (R0MIR-1) BBS on 145.550MHz simplex or 435.775MHz uplink / 437.775 downlink MHz. The cosmonauts also use the freq. 145.200MHz, up and 145.800MHz down or 435.725MHz Up /437.925MHz down or 145.550Mhz simplex to talk with amateur radio operators on the ground during their off-hours.

For exact times and locations to see the space station over your backyard call MN MIRWATCH Coordinator Ben Huset at (612) 639-9109. Look for MIRWATCH and other great space stuff on my web page at http://www.skypoint.com/members/benhuset/ and EUROMIR '95 web pages at http://www.op.dlr.de/EUROMIR95

"Greetings from 400 km above the earth.

It is hard to find words for this incredible view. I mean - it's like .... it's indescribable.

We are in the moment over the ocean. The view is magnificent. The station is oriented now perpendicular to the earth's surface.

The first EVA of an ESA Astronaut falls together nicely with the Ministerial Conference. It is an excellent sign for the future and I really hope, in the middle of Earth and Sky, that there are lots of European Astronauts to follow to make a way to our participation in the international Space Station Program.

Many greetings from here."

--- Thomas Reiter after leaving the MIR Station for his first Space Walk on Friday October 20th, 1995(flight day 48).

Though not a first for Europe, this was the first space sortie by an ESA astronaut (Jean-Loup Chretien of the French national space agency, CNES, had already taken a spacewalk outside Mir, back in 1988).

The two "Space Walkers" Sergei Avdeev and Thomas Reiter exited the station through the airlock hatch in the KVANT-2 module at 12:55 CET. Thomas was almost overwhelmed by the impression of the free space. He said a few sentences in English to document this remarkable event. The two crew members then moved over to SPEKTR module of the station, where the ESEF facility is located. Four experiment cassettes were installed on the facility and tested before the two workers left the site to "walk" to a site with Russian experiments, where they had to exchange some experiment cassettes. Sergei had a small video camcorder mounted to his belly which took breath-taking pictures, played back to us after they had returned to the interior of the station at 18:06 CET. The crew was always ahead of their schedule and while rest periods had been planned for them during the shadow phases (which occur once on every orbit) they worked and acted almost all the time - the full moon gave them enough light to see.

Asked how they feel, by ground personnel after they had returned, they replied they feel just fine - the only one that's tired would be Yuri (the crew commander Yuri Gidzhenko who remained inside the station) who was chasing around in the station to support them.

The crew is in a very good mood and excellent condition and looking forward to "meet" their families on Saturday and of course will need their "free" weekend.

Thomas was a "guest" in the ministerial conference at Toulouse France, deciding about the future of Europe’s Manned Space Flight - Involvement in Space Station Alpha. He addressed the Ministers and spoke with them and a press team. The conference has decided to participate in the Space Station program - as you most likely have already got from the media. Needless to say, that we are all very happy about that.

SPIN CONTROL: Recent production delays at the booster plant that builds the Soyuz rockets have forced the launch delay of the Mir-21 crew and nobody wants to pay the over time work required to meet the original launch date of January 16, 1996, yet nobody wants to say that. The European space agency (ESA) released this statement:

ESA Astronaut Thomas Reiter, on board the space station MIR since 5 September 1995 for ESA's EUROMIR 95 mission, might have his record breaking stay of 135 days extended by another 44 days. ESA and Russia are currently negotiating this extension which would serve the interest of both partners. For Russia, it would optimize the use of onboard resources, while it would enable ESA at the same time to intensify and enlarge the scientific program of EUROMIR 95. A final decision about the extension is expected for the end of this month. (October)

In order to clarify some points related to the extension:

(end of ESA Statement)

Plans continue for the launch of STS-74 to Mir on November 11th, 1995 at 10:25 CST. Major objectives include docking with the Mir space station and delivery of a Russian docking module and 2 solar arrays. check out the 'UN-official' web page at http://www.reston.com/sts74/sts74page.html

STOP! THIEF!! Report of a burglary at the home of astronaut Bonnie Dunbar was filed in October. Included in the items stolen were many of her personal space artifacts including items from 'Mir space station'. A short list includes

She also mentioned that the thieves took anything and everything that looked like jewelry along with. She fears that most of it may have been melted down by now.

If anybody sees for sale any 'questionable' space items please notify the Houston Police. This is NOT the way to collect this stuff.

>From: Dunbar, Bonnie
>Subject: RE: Lost Mementos
>Date: Thursday, October 26, 1995 3:36PM
>Priority: High
>Thank you very much for your help.  Please feel free to contact me or 
>Detective Barton at 713-474-4471 if you need information or find anything. 
> There is a $1000 reward from crimefighters (?) and a $500 reward from 
>myself for information leading to an arrest and conviction.  Again, thank 
>Bonnie Dunbar 

MISSED IT BY THAT MUCH: NASA astronaut Scott Parazynski was forced to quit his training for MIR mission, because he does not fit the 'standard' Soyuz seat.

Parazynski, who turned to be 2 centimeters taller than maximum allowed body length to fit the seat, was selected as backup of Jerry Linenger, who will fly to Mir on board of STS-79 and return to the Earth on STS-81.

Use of the seat would be an emergency return ONLY. The regular plan would be to ride UP and DOWN on the space shuttle, and officials had hoped that funding would be available to make a custom seat. The Soyuz capsule chairs help prevent injury during the re-entry and landing. They are designed to fit people 5' to 5'7" tall.

Now, For a 'different' point of view on this story.

Source: Moscow Izvestiya in Russian 18 Oct 95 pp 1-2 Text:

[Article by Sergey Leskov: "American Bean Pole Dismissed From Russian Detachment Of Cosmonauts"]

[FBIS translated text]

Scandalous news from Zvezdnyy Gorodok: The U.S. astronaut Scott Parazinski, who has spent two months training for a flight to the Mir station at the Russian Cosmonaut Training Center, has been debarred from training sessions. The official version states that Parazinski's anthropometric characteristics do not conform to the demands of the Russian Soyuz TM transport craft.

Scott Parazinski has already flown in space, and his 182 cm height did not prevent him working on the Shuttle. The Americans also intend to fly to our Mir exclusively on board Shuttles. The Soyuz TM will be used only in emergency situations, which, incidentally, have never yet happened. Medics explain that the U.S. astronaut was rejected not even because of his height but because of his excessively long torso, which makes it difficult to manufacture a specially contoured seat and increases the risk when the descent vehicle lands.

But the official version leaves us bewildered. Why did they drag the guy over to Zvezdnyy Gorodok from America and busy themselves with him for two months when it was simpler to leaf through the candidate's medical chart? Why did we close our eyes to the height of our cosmonauts Aksenov, Ryumin, Solovyev, Ivanchenkov, and Serebrov? Even now cosmonaut Korzun, who looks down on the "flawed" american, is training in the detachment.

In each of these cases the special decision was adopted by specialists of the "Energiya" Science and Production Association, the "Zvezda" Science and Production Association (which makes seats and full-pressure suits), and the Institute of Medical and Biological Problems in consultation with one another. A package of technical and medical measures was worked out, making it possible to reduce the risk to a tall cosmonaut. The Americans asked us to think up something clever for their candidate too. There was plenty of time -- the flight was planned for May 1997. But the Russian side did not alter its formally unassailable stand.

Questioning by Izvestiya's correspondent as to the reasons for dismissing Scott Parazinski elicited such a pained reaction from our specialists that a doubt could not help creeping in: is innocent anthropometry the real reason? For example, Aleksandr Aleksandrov, leader of the group of cosmonauts of the "Energiya" Science and Production Association, who used to be noted for his politeness in dealing with journalists, said: "This is none of your business. A newspaper should not take an interest in this. In this way I could lose respect for Izvestiya." Each department sent me off to a different address, at the same time adding: Don't poke your nose into other people's affairs....

Trustworthy and very well-informed sources give a different version of the tall American's dismissal from the Russian detachment of cosmonauts. Yes, as happened before, it was possible to find technical possibilities for the astronaut's flight on the Soyuz TM.

But, as has been remarked, the Americans, who are paying for the joint project, have recently started talking to us in a bass voice, in a commandeering tone. We took umbrage, decided to show our character, and punished our partner, who forgot himself, for his disrespectful attitude. If there had been friendship, there would not have been anthropometry.

But material considerations are even more important. The question of reequipping the Soyuz TM craft in the direction of broadening the anthropometric limitations is now being considered.

It is proposed to use the Soyuz TM as a rescue craft for the Alfa international station. According to our logic, if the Americans want to use Russian technology, they ought to fork out for this program. For the rejected Parazinski, with his nonregulation centimeters, is by no means the tallest of the U.S. astronauts....

Are there any other limitations for Russian craft? Traditionally they are considerably tougher than in the united states. It is curious that, on selecting cosmonauts and astronauts for the first detachments, the Americans set a condition of at least 1,000 hours of flying experience, while on our side Leonov had the maximum -- just 230 hours. But medicine was very strict. Even now a cosmonaut must be between 164 and 185 cm tall, and his weight cannot exceed 85 kg. Comparative parameters of a cosmonaut in a sitting position are calculated scrupulously. Something else is also known, however: cosmonauts are selected on their health, but demands are made on their mind.

Mir Status as of 11/1/95, 10:00 CST


Sometime late last night Houston time, the Mir experienced a leak in an internal cooling loop. This loop is part of the Kvant/Core module core sytem cooling loop. Since Mir was LOS at the time, the rate of pressure loss was unknown but dropped from 1100 to 740 mm Hg. Approximately 1.8 liters of 37% solution Ethelene glycol leaked internal to the Mir volume. The Leak has been isolated to the Kvant internal loop, but the exact leak location is unknown. A hydraulic panel containing pump packages and valves is the current prime suspect.

Loss of the use of this loop disables the regenerative CO2 removal system and one of the oxygen replenishing systems. The Mir is currently using a backup scrubber similar to the shuttle LiOH system for CO2 removal. The solid fuel O2 generators and the alternate O2 system in Kvant-2 can be used for O2 production as required. The onboard supplies are limited but adequate for O2 production until the next Progress launch (Dec. 18).

Immediate problem is the CO2 removal canister supply, will only last until the end of November . Today we agreed to assess delivering 30 shuttle LiOH canisters on STS-74, along with an adapter to interface the canister with the Russian system. Shuttle integration and the Russians are working on the design of the adapter.

The 30 cans will support Mir for 20 days to get them to the nominal launch of Progress. Another 30 cans would be required to protect the slip of Progress until January 10 (not a planned slip but possible).

Mir troubleshooting may include replacing the pump package panel with an old one still onboard Mir. The pumps on that one are beyond life limits but it is a tight system from the fluid loop standpoint, so the pumps would not be operated. Only the pump in the Core Module loop would be used, resulting in a loss of loop efficiency. A spare panel may either be considered for delivery on 74 or taken up by the Russians on Progress, depending on the outcome of the troubleshooting.

Also under consideration is a potable water testing kit to verify no glycol from the leak has gotten into the drinking water through the humidity processing system.

There will be telecons today, this evening and tomorrow morning between Culbertson and Ryumin et al to continue the dialog. Drawings of LiOH cans and interfaces are being exchanged and everyone is working to find stowage and deal with performance, cg and possible offloads of other resupply to make room.

That's all we have at this time.

MOD/Engelauf, Reeves, Castle

My thanks to James Dean of JSC for a copy of 'A Russian Space Station: The Mir Complex' from Mission Operations Directorate Space Flight Training Division Systems Training Branch Document # TD501. This document contains some great background info on Mir Space station hardware and Mir operations support.

The launch of Progress M-29 supply ship to Mir overcame some 'problems'. The recent train de-railment of a different rocket transport train at the launch complex tore up several meters of track and damaged the train but an eager repair crew and a borrowed train saved the flight. But that's not all, when the Progress docked the hatch wouldn’t open, but after some efforts by the Mir crew the stuck hatch opened.

Astronaut Charles J. Precourt (Lt. Col., USAF), will replace Michael A. Baker (Captain, USN), as the NASA manager of operational activities at Star City, Russia, near Moscow. In addition, Wendy B. Lawrence (Commander, USN), will train in Star City as the backup to John E. Blaha, (Colonel, USAF, ret.) who will fly aboard the Russian space station Mir on a future mission.


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