Merde, it's MIRgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Unk's Wild Wild West : One Thread
-- Lars (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 15, 2001
-- Lars (email@example.com), March 15, 2001.
It's about high time they get their 'merde' together!
Tuesday, March 20 1:31 AM SGT
Russia to fix hour of Mir's demise, as safety deadline looms MOSCOW, March 19 (AFP) - Russia is set to fix the day and hour of the Mir space station's long- awaited splashdown into the Pacific Ocean on Tuesday amid concern that time is running out if the ageing orbiter is to be destroyed safely.
"Space agency chiefs are due to hold a final meeting on this subject on Tuesday morning," said Sergei Gorbunov, spokesman for the Russian Space Agency.
In the latest in a series of delays, the 15-year-old space station, once the pride of the Soviet space programme, is now expected to be ditched into the Pacific Ocean early on Friday, 24 hours later than announced last week.
Originally planned for February 27-28, but postponed repeatedly because of technical breakdowns, the operation to bring Mir down to Earth has been put off course because the orbiter is descending at a slower speed than space experts calculated.
But time is now of the essence, ground control warned, because Mir could drop to a critical altitude, re-entering the Earth's atmosphere unguided and with unpredictable consequences, if the Pacific splashdown is delayed until after March 26.
"If the operation is not launched (before then), Mir will fall by itself," Russian mission control (TsUP) official Viktor Blagov told AFP.
TsUP said Saturday it was now 80 percent certain that debris from the orbiter would splash down into the Pacific Ocean on Friday morning Moscow time at around 0600 GMT.
The descent will be triggered when Mir reaches an altitude of 220 kilometres (130 miles) -- it was at 230 kilometres on Sunday -- when the Progress cargo ship's rocket engine will fire three short bursts.
The first two are to correct Mir's orbit, and the third is to send it plunging into the ocean between New Zealand and Chile.
Governments from across the world have expressed concern that the space station might miss its target, noting the long series of technical problems on board Mir in the past few months.
In December, Russia's control centre lost contact with Mir for almost 24 hours, triggering widespread alarm at the possible security threat if such a communication breakdown recurred during the re-entry operation.
Most of the station is expected to break up and burn as it hurtles through the Earth's atmosphere.
But around 20 tonnes of the platform's 137-tonne mass are expected to survive the burn-up, with 1,500 pieces of debris, mostly very small but a few of them as large as a car, falling to Earth.
Debris is expected to rain down on the South Pacific in a target area 200 kilometres (120 miles) wide, and 6,000 kilometres long, between New Zealand and Chile.
The Russian space agency has taken out insurance for 200 million dollars to cover possible damage.
In an unexpected twist to the Mir saga, it emerged Monday that Iran had offered, during a recent visit to Moscow by President Mohammad Khatami, to buy the doomed orbiter for military purposes, but the offer came too late.
Iran had proposed paying for the maintenance of Mir for another two to three years in return for Russia's training Iranian cosmonauts, Radzhab Safarov of the state-funded Centre for Coordination of Russo- Iranian Projects told a press conference.
"The Mir station, with the equipment onboard, could hardly fail to have a dual function, notably surveillance of missile launches and low-orbit flights, which would enable their interception," Safarov said.
The pioneering Soviet-era space station, launched in 1986, is being brought to Earth since Russia has found that it is unable to finance its commitment both to Mir and to the 16-nation International Space Station.
-- (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 19, 2001.
If the Russian ground controllers lose control of Mir, it could hit anywhere between 51 degrees north latitude to 51 degrees south latitude, an area encompassing most major cities.
Disposal of space debris has generated fears in the past:
• In 1978, a Soviet defense satellite plunged out of control and left radioactive debris in the Canadian Arctic.
• In 1979, NASA said its Skylab space station would land in the Pacific Ocean, but parts of it smashed into the Australian outback.
• In 1991, Mir's predecessor, Salyut 7, fell on the Andes Mountains.
Originally they said it was going to be coming down last Wednesday or Thursday. Another article now says it will be this Wednesday or Thursday. This article says Friday, but I bet it will be postponed even later than that. It's obvious the Russians no longer have any control over this thing, and it is being delayed because they can't get the computers to function.
It could come down anywhere from Los Angeles to Lake Titicaca, so ladies and gentlemen, put on your tinfoil hats and head for your bunkers!
-- we're doomed (clinton @ did. it), March 19, 2001.
Tuesday March 20 7:09 AM ET
Free Tacos -- But There's a Slight Catch
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Who says there's no such thing as a free taco, let alone a free lunch?
The Taco Bell restaurant chain said on Monday it will give a free taco to everyone in the United States if -- and this is important -- the core of the 150-ton Mir space station (news - web sites) hits a floating 40-by-40-foot Taco Bell target placed in the South Pacific.
The space station is supposed to come crashing back to earth sometime this week and Taco Bell says it has created a target, painted with a Bell bull's-eye and bold purple letters stating: ``Free Taco Here.'' The floating target will be placed in the South Pacific Ocean off the coast of Australia in advance of Mir's descent.
Chris Becker, vice president of brand communications for Taco Bell Corp., said ``If Mir rings our bell, we will offer a free taco to everyone in the U.S.''
Actually if it does ring the bell, the Taco Bell Corp. will make coupons for free tacos available but they can only be redeemed at participating Taco Bells. It added that Taco Bell has purchased an insurance policy to cover the anticipated cost of the free taco redemption should the space station's core miraculously hit the target.
Taco Bell Corp., a division of Tricon Global Restaurants Inc., made a stir some years back when on April Fools Day it announced that it was buying the Liberty Bell and renaming it after itself.
-- (free email@example.com), March 21, 2001.
Sea-going party embarks Santiago, Chile on Mar 20 on SS Partyongarth. Bring funny hats.
-- (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 21, 2001.
Mir On Course for Suicide Plunge
By Vladimir Isachenkov Associated Press Writer
Thursday, March 22, 2001; 8:11 p.m. EST
KOROLYOV, Russia –– After 15 years in the heavens, Mir started its return home on Thursday, it's cargo-ship engines putting the aging space station on course for a fiery plunge into the South Pacific.
Engines of the attached cargo ship Progress fired for 21 minutes as Mir circled the globe just below the Equator, over the Indian Ocean. Mission Control said that Mir's flight was stable and the computer- controlled system was maintaining the station's course.
This burn – and a second scheduled 90 minutes later – were meant to slow Mir and put it in an elliptical orbit.
A final 23-minute blast, scheduled around 8 a.m. Moscow time and midnight Eastern time, was to hurl the station into the waters between Australia and Chile.
If all went well, Mir would fall harmlessly into the sea. If not, the consequences of 27½ tons of blazing debris tumbling from the sky were frightening.
It was the first time that Progress engines had been fired for such a long period and tension was palpable as the deorbit entered its critical phase. But the chief of Mission Control, Vladimir Solovyov, put the chances "that everything will be all right at 98-99 percent."
The death of Mir marked the end of a proud chapter in the Russian space program; it proved that long duration space flight was possible. Its passing came with much wistfulness, and some protest. About 15 demonstrators briefly rallied Thursday outside Mission Control, holding up a portrait of Yuri Gagarin, the Russian who was the first man in space.
"Don't Give Up the Russian Space Industry," the sign read. But Mir was doomed. The impoverished Russian government could not afford to keep it in orbit – and in good repair – while fulfilling its obligations to the construction of the international space station.
Inside Mission Control near Moscow, the mood was strictly professional. Controllers bottled up regrets over Mir's demise as they pored over charts and figures in preparation for crucial commands that would power the final descent early Friday.
"All the emotions we feel, we will only be able to express them tomorrow after the sinking of the station," said Andrei Borisenko, the shift director at Mission Control. "Today we are working without emotion and doing our jobs."
On its last day, the aging space station soaked up the sun's energy to power its fickle batteries and stabilize its alignment.
Its target area was 120 miles wide by 3,600 miles long, and centered roughly at 44 degrees south latitude and 150 degrees west longitude. Most of the 143-ton craft would burn up during re-entry – temperatures were expected to reach more than 5,400 degrees Fahrenheit.
But the remaining chunks, the equivalent of 20 Volkswagen Beetles, were expected to reach the Earth's surface, scattered over a long swath. Some 1,500 fragments of 40 pounds or more were expected to fall over the zone.
Space officials said debris would be traveling so fast that it could smash through a block of concrete six-feet thick.
Vsevolod Latyshev, a spokesman at Mission Control, said Russia would make no effort to recover the debris. "What for?" he asked quizzically.
Space officials voiced confidence that they could carry out a safe descent, pointing to their experience in dumping dozens of Progress ships and other spacecraft into the same area of the Pacific.
But Mir was by far the heaviest spacecraft ever dumped, and its size and shape made it difficult to exactly predict the re-entry.
A fleet of fishing boats in the zone insisted on staying put because the tuna were biting, said Wayne Heikkila, general manager of the Western Fishboat Owners Association.
Thirty-five space buffs and scientists were in the South Pacific to chase the plunging station; participants were optimistic that they would catch sight of Mir in a 200-second window of opportunity.
And Taco Bell set up a 40-by-40 foot vinyl target – emblazoned with the company's logo and the words "Free Taco Here!" – 10 miles off Australia. In the extremely unlikely event that Mir hit the target, the company promised free tacos to all 281 million Americans.
But to Russians, Mir's demise was no joke. Mir came to symbolize the Soviet Union's fading technological prowess. It was launched in 1986 – just five weeks before former Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev embarked upon perestroika, the reforms that doomed the Communist empire, and just two months before the Chernobyl atomic reactor exploded in the world's worst nuclear accident.
The orbiter had circled the Earth 86,320 times as of Thursday, space officials said. Named after the Russian word that means both peace and world, Mir housed 104 astronauts in its lifetime. Sixty-two of them were from other countries, including seven Americans. Thirty- eight other Americans visited Mir when space shuttles docked there.
But NASA would have nothing to say about Mir's ending, according to spokeswoman Kirsten Larson. It was tracking the space station's return to Earth.
The space travelers performed about 23,000 experiments, growing wheat, building semiconductors, studying the effects of long-term weightlessness on humans.
But in its last years, Mir became something of an orbiting lemon. In 1997, an oxygen-generating canister caught fire, a supply ship crashed into the station, its computer system broke down and its power failed.
In December, Mission Control lost contact with the station for more than 20 hours because the aging batteries suddenly lost power. Space officials have managed to retain contact with Mir during subsequent power losses, but each incident disabled the central computer for days.
-- (email@example.com), March 22, 2001.
Russian Space Station Mir burns up as it enters the earths atmosphere over Nadi, Fiji, Friday, March 23, 2001. After 15 years in orbit, the Russian space station showed that people could spend months, even years, living in space. Life aboard Mir was not often smooth. The station endured fires, collisions, equipment failure and even the collapse of the government that launched it. Mir made its re-entry to earth without incident.
-- (all's well firstname.lastname@example.org well), March 23, 2001.
Thanks for posting the picture; couldn't find one this AM. It's kind of a sad day, especially if you're part of the Russian Space Program.
But what got to me more than anything was the press' coverage; specifically, some headlines:
Mir on Course for Suicide Plunge
Mir Prepares for Watery Grave (paraphrased; couldn't find it)
Mir Makes Fiery Plunge Into Pacific
Final Death Burn for Famed Mir
-- (PatriciaS@lasvegas.com), March 23, 2001.
Thanks for those headlines -
'If it bleeds, it leads'
-- flora (***@__._), March 23, 2001.