A Brief History
On June 25, 1997, an unmanned Russian spacecraft called Progress-M blundered into the Russian manned Mir space station. Despite considerable damage, no lives were lost, and the space station continued its mission.
Launched in 1986, Mir was a Soviet space venture that was built up through 1996, and eventually abandoned and burned up on reentry to the Earth’s atmosphere in 2001. Manned by a crew of 3, Mir was the largest human built satellite of the Earth until the International Space Station was built starting in 1998. Holding space records eventually beaten by the ISS, Mir was occupied by humans for 4,592 days of its 15+ year life, including an almost 10-year span of continuous human occupation.
The Progress series of unmanned spacecraft was derived from the Soviet Soyuz manned space capsule and redesigned for unmanned cargo delivery to Mir and later to the ISS. The ISS has been in orbit for over 24 years and has a total of over 22 years’ worth of human occupancy.
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For more information, please see…
Hall, Rex, and David Shayler. Soyuz: A Universal Spacecraft. Springer, 2003.
Harland, David. The Story of Space Station Mir. Praxis, 2005.
The featured image in this article, a photograph of the damaged solar array of the Spektr module following the collision between Mir and the Progress M-34 freighter on 25 June 1997, is in the public domain in the United States because it was solely created by NASA. NASA copyright policy states that “NASA material is not protected by copyright unless noted“. (See Template:PD-USGov, NASA copyright policy page or JPL Image Use Policy.)
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