Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Today in Space - 2001: Mir Reentry

Mar 23rd - a 143 ton space station falls from grace during a controlled reentry over Fiji and into the South Pacific. Progress M1-5 was launched in January to escort Mir on her final farewell. As expected, six main pieces survived the breakup to give one final show. We had a party that day ... to celebrate her and our opportunity to be a part of her storied history. An attempt was made to save her by private industry - they even sent one last Soyuz mission that spent 70 days there in April, May, and June of 2000.

86,331 orbits... 31 spacecraft, 64 cargo ships, nine shuttle missions... 125 cosmonauts/astronauts from 12 different countries. A five year space station stays in service for 15! But unlike our last party after the Mir Station was left unmanned in August 1999, at least on this sad day there were men living in orbit again.

Mir Reentry FGAN radar Image from above
Website for FGAN radar imaging
Video with simulated reentry, actual reentry footage, and a map
Details on controlled reentry of Mir
Neat website with all kinds of data
Interesting reflections on the reentry and what it meant to TsUP workers