The Mir space station was constructed by connecting several modules, each placed into orbit separately. The Mir Core Module (launched in 1986) provided living quarters and station control. Kvant I (1987) and Kvant II (1989) contained scientific instruments and the crew's shower. Kristall (1990) extended Mir's scientific capabilities. Spektr (1995) served as the living and working space for American astronauts. Priroda (1996) conducted earth remote sensing. The Docking Module (1996) provided a safe and stable port for the space shuttle.
Before, during and after the Shuttle-Mir Program, Mir was tended and resupplied by manned Soyuz capsules and unmanned Progress vehicles.
In Russian, Mir means "peace," and connotes "community" and "village." Mir's modules and service vehicles had similarly evocative names. Kvant means "quantum," a name derived from its purpose to provide research in the astrophysics by measuring electromagnetic spectra and x-ray emissions. Kristall means "crystal," and a main purpose of this module is to develop biological and materials production technologies in the space environment. Spektr means "spectrum," so named for its atmospheric sensors. Priroda means "nature." Progress means the same as it does in English, "progress." Soyuz means "union," so named for the USSR (Sovietski Soyuz = Soviet Union) and because the spacecraft was a union of three smaller modules.
More detailed discussions of the Mir space station and its modules can be found in David Portree's Mir Hardware Heritage, available on this Web site in PDF format.
Mir Space Station
Mir's Spaceflight Records
Life on Mir
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