Letter From NASA to Russia Over STS-86/Mir Preparations

National Aeronautics and
Space Administration

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center
2101 NASA Road 1
Houston, TX 77058-3696

Reply to the attn of: YA-97-147

AUG 11 1997

Mr. Valery Ryumin
RSC Energia
4 Lenin Street
Moscow Region, 141070

Dear Mr. Ryumin:

In preparation for the launch of STS-86 and the start of the NASA 6 Long Duration Mission, there are several areas where we would like to have additional information in order to allow for a thorough assessment during the flight readiness process. Some of this is a repeat from previous correspondence, but I felt it would be good to put it all in one letter. If possible, we would like to receive this information one week prior to our STS-86/NASA 6 Joint Flight Readiness Review (FRR) videoconference, currently proposed for September 9, 1997. Specific areas of interest are as follows:

1. An updated review of all Mir systems, including a description of the current status, margins, critical spares, recent anomalies, and a schedule of upcoming repair activities. We also need detailed consumables planning for the next year since the current water situation aboard Mir appears to represent a failure of the planning activity, and a violation of the jointly signed "Mir Systems Required for U.S. crew to remain on Mir." The delay of Progress 237 from August to October or later has put the program in a precarious position. I believe we should discuss increasing consumable margins to 45 or 60 days in the near future.

2. A copy of the final report on the Solid Fuel Oxygen Generator fire, including an analysis of the returned hardware, identification of the probable cause of the incident, and a list of the corrective actions taken. In addition, due to the seriousness of the incident, and absent a conclusive corrective action to preclude another failure, we would appreciate a follow-up assessment of the procedural changes and precautions taken to control the hazard. In particular, we are concerned about the crew becoming complacent to the hazard.

3. As soon as available before FRR, a copy of the accident investigation report on the Progress collision, including both probable and contributing causes, and a list of corrective actions. We would also like to know the specific test objectives that were being pursued, as well as understanding why the approach was allowed to be performed outside of ground contact and without radar data being available to the crew. U.S. operational and safety guidelines would not normally permit such an activity to be conducted in this way.

4. A summary of the flight rules covering the following conditions or events:

a) Conditions or events requiring immediate sealing or undocking of Soyuz
b) Conditions requiring unscheduled Soyuz return
c) Conditions requiring station power-down or conservation techniques, including equipment priorities and power-up sequence.

5. An updated assessment of the projected power levels that are likely to be available for U.S. science activities onboard the Mir during the remaining increments along with planning guidelines to permit us to understand the basic limitations we will see.

6. A plan for including the U.S. in the review and approval process for undertaking significant activities on the Mir over the next year. We need to participate in these activities to ensure the safety and productivity of our crew as well as to address the concerns of our leadership. Routine operations such as dockings within demonstrated parameters can be covered by teleconference between our WG-3 co-chairs. New or more demanding operations such as new docking tests. EVA's affecting our crew or operations, and such tests as the proposed flight of Inspector should be dealt with via Working Group 3 discussions, and a summary review conducted jointly at the WG-0 level via teleconference or videoconference.

The message I am seeking to convey is that it is necessary for us to become much more active participants in the planning, review, and execution of operations that affect our program on the Mir. As I hope you have also noted, I believe there is significant mutual benefit to our involvement, as each side has its own heritage and perspective to contribute to the work, and virtually every joint activity helps pave the way for greater trust and cooperation during the International Space Station Program.

Please let me know if you have any questions on these items. We appreciate your continued cooperation and support of our joint program.



Frank L. Culbertson, Jr.
Manager, Phase 1 Program

OV/RSA Liason Office
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IBMP/A. I. Grigoriev
IBMP/V.V. Bogomolov
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RSA/A.G. Botvinko
RSC-E/P. Vorobiew

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on August 11, 1997 11:42 AM.

Assessment of MCC Ops During the Power Loss Event of 7/17/97 was the previous entry in this blog.

NASA OIG Letter To Congress Regarding NASA's Mir Participation is the next entry in this blog.

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