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Seeing the Mir space station never failed to impress people.
In outward appearance, Mir has been likened to a giant dragonfly with its wings outstretched, and to a hedgehog, whose spines could pierce a spacewalker's suit.
In his Oral History, U.S. Mir astronaut Andy Thomas describes arriving at Mir. "We could see the station out the [space shuttle's] overhead windows - first as a point of light off in the distance that slowly grew brighter as we approached. Soon the characteristic shape of Mir could be made out, with its cruciform layout of modules and their protruding solar arrays. These panels are very wing-like in their shape, and indeed Mir has often been likened to a giant insect in its appearance."
The inside of Mir has been likened to a rabbit warren, a submarine, and a maze. In his Oral History, U.S. Mir astronaut Michael Foale said, "It's a place that's been lived in and worked in for twelve years. It's a bit like a frat house, but more organized and better looked after."
Other description of Mir are offered at the links below.
Precourt on Seeing Mir
Titov on Seeing Mir Again
Precourt on Mir Clutter
Thomas on Last View of Mir
Tours | Timeline | Shuttle-Mir Background | Shuttle Flights & Mir Increments | Mir Expeditions
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Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty