Mir means "peace" and "community" in Russian. The Mir space station contributed to world peace by hosting international scientists and American astronauts. It also supported a community of humans in orbit and symbolized the commonwealth of the Russian people.
Mir was constructed in orbit by connecting different modules, each launched separately from 1986 to 1996. During the Shuttle-Mir Program, Russia's Mir combined its capabilities with America's space shuttles. The orbiting Mir provided a large and livable scientific laboratory in space. The visiting space shuttles provided transportation and supplies, as well as temporary enlargements of living and working areas, creating history's largest spacecraft, with a combined mass of 250 tons.
Magnificent to behold through the windows of a space shuttle, the 100-ton Mir was as big as six schoolbuses. Inside, it looked more like a cramped labyrinth, crowded with hoses, cables and scientific instruments—as well as articles of everyday life, such as photos, children's drawings, books and a guitar. It commonly housed three crewmembers, but it sometimes supported as many as six, for up to a month. Except for two short periods, Mir was continuously occupied until August 1999.
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.
Despite its inconveniences, many cosmonauts and astronauts grew to love Mir, comparing it to a living being with qualities, needs, and eccentricities.
Life on Mir
Precourt on Mir Clutter
Mir Spaceflight Records
Russian Space Stations: Fact Sheet (PDF)
Meanings of Mir
Mir's "Final" Crew
Mir Deorbit Animation
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