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In his Oral History, shuttle commander Charles Precourt describes the crowded situation on Mir.
Speaking after the STS-91 mission, he says, "There [are] still food supplies there that belonged to Shannon [Lucid] and John Blaha, and there are boxes with their names on them that nobody's ever going to eat..."
Precourt also comments that the Russians had "lost control of inventory management, which is very easy to do... [It's like] when you've got stuff that's been thrown in your garage for twelve years and then you go back through and clean your garage and find, 'Oh, I haven't seen this in years. Where did this come from?' Well, that is literally the way it is, too, in every module up there..."
Precourt continues, "They really have a situation where the inventory management got out of control, and [Russian program manager Valery] Ryumin thinks it happened at about the three-year point, and the crews have been struggling since then. The lesson, of course, [which Ryumin] tried to pound home, was that we'd better do something a lot different for ISS [the International Space Station] or we're going to see the same kinds of problems. So we're struggling with that, and we keep working on it."
Descriptions of Mir
Profile: Charles Precourt
Charles Precourt Oral History (PDF)
Life on Mir
Mir Space Station
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Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty