Recently in Mir Category

Dec 20: While repressurizing the BKV-3 (air conditioner) today, one of the coolant lines apparently leaked. The shift flight director reported that approximately 500g of freon leaked into the atmosphere. The precise location of the leak is unknown, but telemetry is showing that the leak has stopped. An onboard concentration of 1.7g/m3 has been estimated. The JSC toxicology group is investigating, but believes this concentration to be within acceptable NASA SMAC levels. .... Russian Medical Group reported that the current freon level was not considered dangerous to the crew. Dave was asked to take a grab air sample in the general vicinity of the BKV-3 in the base block.

Dec 21: The shift flight director reported today that the freon-218 leak which occurred yesterday happened previously in 1991. At that time, approximately 1 kg (twice the quantity of yesterday's spill) leaked into the atmosphere. The trace contaminants filter cleared the atmosphere of that amount in approximately 10-14 days. No ill effects were experienced by the onboard crew at that time.

Dec 22: The Base Block air conditioner is the primary supply for the Condensate Recovery System. With the air conditioner not operating, the supply to the condensate recovery system is only the Soyuz dehumidifying system. The MCC team is currently looking at ways to maintain a nominal Condensate Recovery System water production rate using purely the Soyuz dehumidifying system.

NASA MIR Program / Mir 24 / NASA 6 Status
Date: Monday, January 12, 1998 // MD 160/109

Mir Station System/Subsystem Activities
The crew performed separation on the Base Block cooling loops KOB-1 and KOB-2 this afternoon after flight controllers detected air in those loops. All other systems continue to operate nominally as previously reported.

The pressure in the primary airlock (ShSO) has decreased to below 570 mmHg. Russian ground teams are continuing to investigate the situation to determine the correct course of action following the upcoming EVA.

Mir 24 / NASA 6 Status
Date: Thursday, January 1, 1998
Mission Day: Mir 24 / NASA 6 MD 149/98

Mir 24 CDR: Anatoly Solovyov
Mir 24 FE: Pavel Vinogradov
NASA 6 FE: Dave Wolf

Mir Station System/Subsystem Activities
Temperatures in the Base Block have been running between 28-32 C; in Kvant-2,
39-41 C, and in Priroda, 28-31 C.

Date: Tuesday, December 23, 1997 // MD 140/89
Mir Station System/Subsystem Activities

This past weekend, during changeout of the Base Block air conditioner compressor unit, a check valve failed inside the air conditioner unit (not the new compressor) resulting in a Freon 218 leak of approximately 500 grams. The Moscow Operations team is assessing options to deliver a new air conditioner and compressor either on Shuttle or Progress. The manifesting of another compressor is not required. It is being assessed simply to provide another spare.

With the failure of the air conditioner, the Condensate Recovery System is running with supply solely from the Soyuz dehumidifier. Production quantity is between 1 and 2 liters/day. An option to increase water production is to allow the temperature in the Soyuz habitation module to decrease from 14 degrees to 7 degrees. However lowering the temperature in the habitation module will decrease the temperature in the descent module, resulting in temperatures below the dewpoint causing undesired condensation. The ground team is looking at options to disconnect the descent module thermal control system to prevent condensation.

Preliminary consumables delivered in the Progress vehicle include 300 liters of water, 39 food containers, and 50 kg of pure gaseous Oxygen. Quantities of other consumables are expected to be reported Wednesday.

Late last week it was asked if the crew routinely performs litmus tests on the collected condensate. Mr. Antosheshkin reported that the crew performs these checks at their discretion and typically only performs them if the condensate is collected on or in the vicinity of the thermal piping.

Base Block Vozdukh installation has been temporarily stopped while the ground determines the impacts of disconnecting the cables and equipment needed to make the necessary space for connection of the Vozdukh Drying Unit. The ground is expected to provide direction (either an approval for disconnection or a recommendation for a new location) in the next day or two.

NASA MIR Program Mir 24 / NASA 6 Status Date:09
Wednesday, December 17, 1997 Mission Day:09
Mir 24 / NASA 6 MD 134/83

Mir Station System/Subsystem Activities All primary major systems continue to operate nominally. Inspector activities were terminated today due to a problem with the Inspector star tracker. The crew kept receiving an input that the star tracker was overheating. The logic of the Inspector payload is such that without an operating start tracker, no burns can be performed

All Progress burns were executed with no anomalies. The Inspector and the Progress are on safe trajectories and there are no trajectory concerns. The crew did not perform burns to separate Mir from the Inspektor. According to Shift Flight Director Viktor Shedrin, there was a formatting problem in software uplinked to the Mir, and this prevented the burn from occurring. The current plan is to wait until the morning, when the crew will determine the distance to Inspektor, and a decision will be made at that time whether to reattempt a station burn. At about 21:00 DMT, the crew stated that the Inspektor was approximately 425 meters behind and 45-47 degrees higher than the Mir. The entire crew went to sleep following the comm pass ending at 21:20.

NASA MIR Program / Mir 24 / NASA 6 Status
Date: Thursday, November 20, 1997 // MD 107/56

Mir Station System/Subsystem Activities

Today's major activities centered on preparation and execution of the Cooperative Solar Array experiment. The test consisted of disconnecting, measuring, and connecting multiple solar cells on the Cooperative Solar array (Kvant -Z axis) and the disconnection and re-connection of the Russian Solar array (Kvant +Z axis - installed during the November EVA). Although the Base Block arrays remained connected during the entire test, they were shadowed by Kvant arrays due to the Beta angle and attitude of the experiment. As a precaution, Dave was told to power off IPCG and Glovebox during the comm pass at 18:15 DMT. Additionally, Dave was told to power off PUP A and PUP B for the night passes from 19:00 until 00:15.

At the most critical time of the test, the power margin turned out to be about 20 amps. Mr. Blagov expressed his thanks to the Phase I Program for agreeing to power down some of the science equipment and to cycle the PUP's power.

The only other item of interest we are tracking is the temp in the Base Block. The crew called down temps of 36 degrees (18:16 DMT) and 30 degrees (22:30 DMT). The ground team is attributing the high temperatures to off nominal performance of the Base Block cooling loop KOB-1. The ground is also assessing powering the Base Block air conditioner to make the sleep period more comfortable. With the higher temperatures, the Kvant Electron remained off. The crew reported that they used three oxygen canisters to maintain proper ppO2 levels.

At the 00:11 comm pass on Nov 20/21: The cosmonauts were finishing the the reconnections of the all of the cables and closing out of the panels.

The ground instructed them to turn on both condensate removal pumps. They did and reported that they were operational, even the #2 pump which surprised them. Apparently, there were problems with this pump earlier. Later in the pass, the ground reported that the condensate pumps were not operational per the tm. The ground told the crew this can wait 'til tomorrow.

The ground also instructed the cosmonauts to burn one more candle which gives a total of 3 O2 candles today.

The crew reported that the solar array tracking control was reinitiated. Later in the pass, the crew reported that the solar array drives were nominal

Before the comm pass the Power flight controllers were asking for last minute changes to the attitude, which the SFD took objection to, but gave in. The Mir was in LVLH attitude and the power flight controller wanted to place the station into solar inertial. The fact that the Mir was in LVLH was surprise to us, so Joel has added this to his list of topics for discussion with Yuri Antoshechkin.

Date: Wednesday, November 19, 1997// MD 106/55

Mir Station System/Subsystem Activities

Health of the major systems continue to remain unchanged (Kvant Electron working (periodically turned off/on for power), 11 gyrodynes holding attitude, Condensate System working, Urine Recycling System working).

After continuing discussions with different Russians on last Friday's solar array test, we have learned the experiment was performed to test the Cooperative Solar Array and NOT the newly installed Kvant solar array. Additionally, we learned that the disconnection of the Base Block arrays and the newly installed solar array were not part of this test.

This morning, Victor Blagov told us he attributes the experiment failure to an errant disconnection of one of the Cooperative Solar array connectors. Victor stated this experiment was performed to support the Contract (per Jim Nise, the Contract item is 3FA14). Victor also told us the experiment is scheduled to be repeated Thursday afternoon (after 16:00 DMT) to accomplish the contract requirement.

Today, we also received clarification on the sequence used to bring the gyrodynes back on-line. The Kvant-2 gyrodynes were spun down nominally since power to the module was not interrupted. The spinup of these gyrodynes occurred nominally. However, after the gyrodynes were integrated into the control loop, an out of limit signal was sensed by the precession unit which resulted in two gyrodynes (#2 and #6) spinning down. The out of limit signal was a result of excessive torques when controlling the Mir stack with 6 gyrodynes in one module. These two gyrodynes were spun up after one of the Kvant gyrodynes were back on line and continue to operate nominally.

The Kvant gyrodynes were not spun down nominally since their power is supplied from the Base Block. When testing the gyrodynes for start-up, the ground was unsuccessful in gaining an indication of health status. After two failed attempts to test the health of the gyrodynes, the ground team gave the crew a GO to spin up one gyrodyne (Kvant #4). The gyrodyne spun up nominally and the crew was directed to bring the remaining gyrodynes on-line. After discussing the situation with the motion control experts, the start-up test requires an inhibit command to be lifted prior to the testing. It is believed this inhibit was not released prior to the test.

Prior to the motion control failure, the crew had been working on the Electron unit in Kvant-2 which failed to run due to the O2 sensor in the H2 vent line sensing elevated pressures. The ground controllers believe the sensor may be clogged and have instructed the crew to remove and clean the sensor. These activities will be postponed until late this week or early next week.

Consumables used during the motion control recovery consist of 5 Oxygen canisters, 1 American LiOH canister, approximately 25 kg of Mir propellant, and approximately 10 kg of Soyuz prop.

In addition to the motion control recovery procedures, this week's systems work has focused on preparation and installation of the Base Block Vozdukh. The majority of the crew's time has been to clear out the space where the Vozdukh will be installed. The crew has had multiple questions concerning which hardware and cables were acceptable to move and are concerned that the allotted space will not be sufficient. Vozdukh activities are scheduled for 4-5 hrs/day for the rest of the week.

The ground is watching a decreasing efficiency on the air conditioner compressor. Since a spare is available on-board, the crew will be instructed to use the system as normal until the compressor fails. At that time, the compressor will be replaced with the on-board spare.

Tues evening tm data indicated the ShSO pressure at 278 mmHg.

At the last communication session of the day the crew reported problems with installing the Vozdukh unit in the Base Block. The crew said that there are some compatibility problems with existing pipes on board and that the specialist will have to be consulted tomorrow.

Mir Status 20 October 1997

Date: Monday, October 20, 1997 // MD 76/25

Mir Station System/Subsystem Activities

The second IVA into Spektr was conducted today, and the crew connected two of the three cables for the solar array orientation system to the hermaplate on the hatch. They were unable to make one of the connections due to difficulties with access, so one of the three undamaged arrays will not be steerable. The MOST is attempting to find out which one this is, but it is believed to be the array opposite the damaged array. The current plan is to make the connection to the Kristall avionics on Wednesday, the 22nd.

Mr. Blagov told us that they do not yet know the cause of the failure to depressurize the Progress vestibule on Saturday. They suspect that a limit switch was not making contact, preventing the supply of power to the valve. However, the depressurization worked fine on Sunday. He said that the crew will take a closer look for causes when they reopen Progress.

Mir Status 19 October 1997

NASA 6 Status Date: Sunday, October 19, 1997// MD 75/24

Mir Station System/Subsystem Activities

The Progress vestibule was successfully depressurized today. The station was commanded to free drift at DMT 11:37 this morning, and the crew then removed the Progress clamps and closed the Kvant-1 hatch. The depress was started at 13:05, and by the end of the comm pass the pressure had dropped to 37 mm. The valve was closed and the station returned to solar inertial attitude control at 13:41.

In further preparations for the IVA, the crew disconnected the cables for the Omega angular rate sensor in Kristall, and ORT-1 was enabled as the primary sensor, with ORT-2 in hot standby mode. They also disconnected the cables for the Kvant-2 Elektron, which receives power from Kristall. They shut down the Kvant-1 Elektron without purging after the 13:00 comm pass.

NASA MIR Program
Mir 24 / NASA 6 Status

Date: Sunday, October 5, 1997
Mission Day: Mir 24 / NASA 6 MD 61/10

Mir 24 CDR Anatoly Solovyov
Mir 24 FE Pavel Vinogradov
NASA 6 FE Dave Wolf

Mir Station System/Subsystem Activities
In preparation for tomorrow's undocking, the crew closed the hatch to
Progress and performed leak checks today and also performed a TORU checkout.
Progress M-36 launched successfully early this evening.

Date: Wednesday, September 24, 1997// MD 50/132

Mir Station System/Subsystem Activities
All systems continued to function nominally today, except for the urine water
recovery system, which has not yet been repaired.

Mir Payload Activities
BTS Checkout; Interactions; MIPS telemetry prep

Date: Tuesday, September 23, 1997 // MD 49/131

Mir Station System/Subsystem Activities -- The MCS is running normally and attitude control is being provided by 10 gyrodines. Elektron was reactivated today. Vozdukh repairs continued today, including installation of a newer fan and work on the cables. The crew reported at the DMT 04:15 that they had successfully activated the unit. No further work was performed on the urine water recovery system today.

Mir Payload Activities: Greenhouse Daily Ops (FE-1); Daily Exercise (Treadmill) with recording on 'ZY'; Greenhouse photography; MIM checkout; SAMS cleanup;

Mir 24 / NASA 5 Status
Date: Monday, September 22, 1997
Mission Day: Mir 24 / NASA 5 MD 48/130

Mir 24 CDR Anatoly Solovyov
Mir 24 FE Pavel Vinogradov
NASA 5 FE Mike Foale

Mir Station System/Subsystem Activities

At 04:23 DMT this morning the motion control computer BTsVM-1 failed when two of three channels in the CPU failed. The gyrodines spun down and Elektron was shut down, but the ventilation system and thermal control loops remained active. The crew used Soyuz to initiate a spin, and within a few orbits the solar array current was 570 amps. The crew replaced Channel A with Channel C from the old computer, but it could not be determined which of the remaining two channels had failed, and there are no spares left onboard. However, the computer passed a self-test at 15:27 DMT, and the ground began reloading the software during the 18:21 DMT comm pass. The attitude reference was rebuilt during the DMT 23:01 comm pass, after which time thrusters-only attitude control was regained. Gyrodine spin-up began during the 00:28 pass.

The crew reported that they observed brown drops floating outside the vehicle around 10:00 DMT this morning, shortly after the Soyuz spinup. These drops seemed to emanate from the vicinity of Kvant-1 and moved in the direction of the other modules at about 20 deg. from the X axis. Mike reported they had a oily, shiny appearance, and that the previous crew had reported a similar sighting. Telemetry did not indicate any leaks.

Vozdukh continued to experience problems after being started on two vacuum valves (vacuum valve 2 was declared failed Saturday night). Further troubleshooting isolated the problem to the fan, which the crew replaced in the afternoon. This replacement did not solve the problem; the crew continued work, including looking for a new fan (there should apparently be two available onboard) until sleep. Work on Vozdukh will continue tomorrow.

No further maintenance was performed on the urine water recovery system SRV-U today.

NASA MIR PROGRAM/Mir 24 / NASA 5 Status Date: Saturday, September 20, 1997// MD 46/128

Experiment Hardware / PUP and MIPS checkout - Mike informed the ground crew that Priroda had not been powered up yet , therefore he would have to slip the PUP and MIPS checkout to a later date. Further discussions with the shift flight director revealed that the reason the Priroda had not been powered was due to the ground's inability to issue commands to the Priroda's Master Computer. It is believed that the reason for this is condensation in connectors. There is a concern that issuing commands to route power to the PUPs may result in an erroneous command being issued by the Master Computer due to condensation.

The computer must be deactivated before the connectors can be cleaned and the specialists needed to issue the commands for deactivation have gone home for the weekend. We have emphasized the absolute requirement that the Priroda be fully functional and the PUP, MIM and BTS systems be fully checked out prior to launch of STS-86. The shift flight director has made every effort to get in contact with the Priroda systems specialists, but so far has had no success.

There is one gentleman who has been located who is a general module expert who is tried to give the crew commands to shut down a portion of the Master Computer and that was unsuccessful. Further commands will be issued by the ground this evening.

Date: Saturday, September 20, 1997// MD 46/128


Vacuum valve #2 (BVK-2) on Vozdukh failed at DMT 15:20. It had been operating for a total of 30,000 hours, well over its service life of 20,000 hours. The crew was instructed tonight to begin working procedures to reactivate Vozdukh on the remaining two valves. The SFD informed us that the valve would be replaced tomorrow. The crew also performed troubleshooting procedures on the urine water recovery system SRV-U, which has been unable since yesterday to drain the urine residue from the distillation process into the residue EDV. These procedures included attempts to drain the residue through various connectors into another EDV, but were unsuccessful in determining the location of the clog. The SFD informed us that they may have the crew replace the rotary pump and other equipment to fix the problem.


Greenhouse Daily Ops (FE-1); CPA; Beetle Power Status Check
PUP check-out; MIPS check-out; Private Family Conference

Experiment Hardware / PUP and MIPS checkout - Mike informed the ground crew that Priroda had not been powered up yet , therefore he would have to slip the PUP and MIPS checkout to a later date. Further discussions with the shift flight director revealed that the reason the Priroda had not been powered was due to the ground's inability to issue commands to the Priroda's Master Computer. It is believed that the reason for this is condensation in connectors. There is a concern that issuing commands to route power to the PUPs may result in an erroneous command being issued by the Master Computer due to condensation. The computer must be deactivated before the connectors can be cleaned and the specialists needed to issue the commands for deactivation have gone home for the weekend. We have emphasized the absolute requirement that the Priroda be fully functional and the PUP, MIM and BTS systems be fully checked out prior to launch of STS-86. The shift flight director has made every effort to get in contact with the Priroda systems specialists, but so far has had no success. There is one gentleman who has been located who is a general module expert who is tried to give the crew commands to shut down a portion of the Master Computer and that was unsuccessful. Further commands will be issued by the ground this evening.

Date: Friday, September 19, 1997 // MD 45/127


Kvant-1 gyrodyne #3 was spun up overnight, bringing the total number of active units to ten. Kvant-2 gyrodyne #1 is awaiting the delivery of a spare electronics unit on STS-86. Mr. Skursky informed us that repair work on Kvant-1 gyrodyne #6 would require the station to be put on thruster attitude control for two days, and they don't want to expend the fuel that this would require.

The urine water recovery system SRV-U is unable to drain the urine residue (brine left over after the distillation process) into the residue EDV. This could be due to a clog or bubbles in the system. If this cannot be resolved, one possible solution will be installation of another EDV downstream of the distillator. The system was shut down this evening.

NASA MIR Program, Mir 24 / NASA 5 Status
Date: Thursday, September 18, 1997 // MD 44/126

Mir Station System/Subsystem Activities

Gyrodynes #2, 5, and 6 on Kvant-2 were spun up last night, but #1 did not spin up, and #6 was spinning up more slowly than the others. This brings the number of active units to nine, although #6 is not yet in the control loop. Work continues on Kvant-2 #1 Gyrodyne, and Mr. Antoshechkin informed us that the crew would replace the main axis drive control unit for Kvant-1 Gyrodyne #3 and attempt to spin it up later today.

The Kvant-1 Elektron was reactivated at DMT 16:33 yesterday and is running fine.

Core module external loop KOX-1H was switched off at DMT 21:27 last night due to the dewpoint being reached on the Antares coldplate on the joint KOX-1B/VGK loop. Both Altair passes for today were cancelled due to the dewpoint concern. Mr. Antoshechkin told us that one fix would be to raise the setpoint of the KOX-1H loop to bring the Antares coldplate above the dewpoint, but this would also increase the temperature of the coolant flowing to Elektron, so they cannot exercise this option.

NASA MIR Program / Mir 24 / NASA 5 Status
Date: Wednesday, September 17, 1997// MD 43/125

Mir Station System/Subsystem Activities

Early today, the gyrodynes were reactivated. Six were nominally spun up, but four appear to have sustained damage to the electronic control units during the off-nominal powerdown of Kvant-2 following Sunday's failure. The crew is working today to replace these electronics units, and flight controllers hope to get those four gyrodynes spun up this evening. On the final comm pass of the evening, Mike reported that he could hear the four gyrodynes spinning up.

Date: Tuesday, September 16, 1997 // MD 42/124

Mir Station System/Subsystem Activities -- Early this morning thruster-only attitude control was successfully regained. The gyrodynes are expected to be spun up overnight.

The external cooling loop on the base block (KOH-1N) remains off to preclude condensate gathering on the Antares transmitter coldplate. Elektron remains off as well. Condensate recovery (SRV-K), urine recovery (SRV-U), and Vozdukh are all on. Kvant-2 is powering up and its batteries are being charged.

The crew also spent time today cleaning up the worksite in the area of loop VGK in Kvant-1. Several weeks ago, leak repairs were performed in this area and today the crew finally cleaned up the work area. There are no leaks.


Despite the common claim that being on Mir means "invaluable experience" for NASA astronauts, it turns out that if the experience doesn't fit what officials want the public to believe, the experience is hidden away. A glaring example of this is how Jerry Linenger REALLY felt when he made his E.V.A. on April 29. Here's how he described it during a debriefing session at NASA on June 6:

The airlock hatch is a piece of junk with a broken hinge, "jury rigged with a couple of C-clamps holding it together" that you have to "very gingerly open". Noted Linenger, "It gives you an uneasy feeling as you leave." Once outside, "You have a continuous feeling you're falling off the station," he recalled. "It's a very uneasy feeling, a very strong feeling of falling that had to be overcome." He warned that he "could see someone getting very panicky out there, especially if they had a fear of heights."

The external surface of Mir was a hazardous environment with razor sharp edged objects. Many translation paths led to blind alleys, and it was extremely difficult to know where you were on the external surface (sometimes his only hope was peering into a window and recognizing the part of Mir he was outside of). Training in the water tank was nowhere near the reality ("I think the people in Star City don't really know the configuration out there").

He was out on the end of the Strela arm, constantly worrying it would snap and send him off into space. "I'm just out there kinda dangling, not comfortable out there, very uncomfortable," he recalled. "You don't have a lot of confidence the things aren't gonna break," he explained (he had heard about handrails breaking on previous spacewalks so always tried to stay attached at two points).

Worry piled on worry: "It's risk upon risk. Is the station going to work? Is the space suit going to work? Is the Strela going to break? I suspect that some other people wouldn't have been able to do that. If there had been one more sensation, or one more thing go wrong, I wouldn't have been able to do it. It was a surprise to me how frightening it was. And I was surprised how I was able to overcome it. It was close to overwhelming, it's right on the edge of a very bad feeling."

Mike Foale was already aboard Mir when Linenger gave this honest description. Let's hope that somebody at NASA briefed Foale about it.

National Aeronautics and
Space Administration
Washington, DC 20546-0001
Office of Inspector General
August 29, 1997

The Honorable F. James Sensenbrenner
U.S. House of Representatives
Chairman, Committee on Science
Suite 2320 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515-6301
Dear Mr. Chairman:

On July 11, 1997, you requested the NASA Office of Inspector General to assess NASA's participation in the Russian Mir Space Station Program. Specifically, you asked my office to analyze: (1) suitability of Russia's Mir space station for habitation by U.S. astronauts, (2) research productivity on board the Mir, and (3) cost effectiveness of continued NASA involvement in the Mir space station program. The Agency must address these same issues.

NASA balances three major factors in its assessment of the risks/benefits of continued astronaut participation in Mir. First, it evaluates the dangers posed by changing conditions aboard the Mir. As Dan Goldin stated, "Mir is an aging spacecraft that has long exceeded its original design life and is exhibiting an increasing number of in-flight anomalies." 1 Second, it considers the impact on American-Russian relations far broader than NASA's science and technology goals. (The Mir program is also a "critical underpinning of the success of the U.S./Russian Joint Commission on Economic and Technologic Cooperation. 2) Third, it assesses how participation in Mir activities impacts the Shuttle manifest. 3 (The Agency has established a minimum number of six flights as being essential to fly the Shuttle safely. Down time effects the proficiency of the workforce that maintains Shuttle operations.)

Sent: Monday, July 28, 1997 1:42 PM
Subject: MCC-M Response

The above is a report I have drafted on the MCC-M response to the power loss incident which delayed the Mir EVA. It starts with what I think was a recoverable error (unplugging a key attitude sensor), but inaction by the ground allows the situation to deteriorate into a major problem. It is not completely clear from the information available, but it appears the ground may have even aggravated the situation with an incorrect quaternion uplink.

A classic example of the ground having their heads "up and locked"...

June 29, 1997
Mr. Frederick D. Gregory
Associate Administrator for Safety and Mission Assurance
NASA Headquarters
Washington, DC 20564-0001

Dear Fred:

Thank you so much for the kind words in your letter of June 24, 1997 and the exceptionally nice Bohemian crystal bowl that accompanied it. I have placed it on my desk in a prominent place where I can enjoy its beauty as I am working. I do appreciate your thoughtfulness and the effort you made in sending me this most delightful award.

Since I do not get to see you or communicate with you on a regular basis anymore, I would like to take this opportunity to mention something that I believe is of serious importance to NASA, and the Human Spaceflight Safety and Mission Assurance Program. I am sure that the current crisis in the Mir program is probably foremost in your mind. I am extremely concerned about the safety risks associated with continued operation of the Phase I Shuttle/Mir Program. There already have been two incidents this year where the crew has been placed in a basic survival situation. The Mir station is clearly showing significant degradation as it continues to operate beyond its design lifetime. In addition, the decline in the basic infrastructure of the Russian Space Program been well documented in numerous publications, and even in public statements by some Russian space officials.

When NASA originally began the Shuttle/Mir Program, no rigorous safety analysis or risk analysis was accomplished. NASA decided based on the then understood historical performance of safe Mir operations to accept that record as a given. This was done by a subjective review process unlike the systematic safety and reliability analytical techniques utilized for U.S. human spaceflight. If you remember, at that time the Russians were not always forthright about their systems failures or some of the problems they had in the past. The decision was made at the highest levels of NASA, and the formal safety analysis that was established for the Phase I Program was only for the new joint operations activities, new experiments, and new procedures. The acceptance of the existing Mir safety record was driven by management judgment, and therefore for formal and structured documented risk baseline exists for the start of the program. It should be very clear to everyone that the risk level to human safety on the Mir Station has increased somewhat since the early management decisions and agreements were made.

The question becomes, what is the present risk to human safety in this program as the Mir ages and its systems continue to fail and degrade in capability, and as the Russian space program support infrastructure changes as well? What are the expectations for the risk levels to continue to change with time over the planned lifetime of Phase 1 Program? What is the current risk level as compared with the subjectively determined risk level at the start of the Program? NASA has participated in the Mir program with a lower standard as far as Safety and Mission Assurance assessment processes are concerned, and I believe that the risk levels for human safety to be somewhat higher as well. The most important and cogent question is whether the expected benefits of continued operation justify the increasing risk to human safety that are apparent with current operations on the Shuttle/Mir Phase 1 Program.

Date: Friday, June 27, 1997 // Mission Day 138/43

OPERATIONS / Public Affairs Support -- The two NASA PAOs at MCC-M continu e to respond to media inquiries regarding the health of Mike Foale, the i mpact of the current situation on NASA 5 science OPS, and the status of Mir. A Mir status report was forwarded to Houston and HQ PAO for review/dissemination. The PAOs are also endeavoring to protect the OPS team from the ever-present media at MCC-M.

Experiment Operations

TEF -- After Mir lost attitude control which required Soyuz maneuvering for correction, the TEF was requested to be powered off. It had only been powered up for approximately 8 hours. Temperature at the time of power on yesterday was +16 deg. C. The samples (2nd collection of the Sleep Experiment) will be stowed for return; however, there will be no future requests or priority placed on reactivating the TEF to preserve these samples.

Greenhouse -- Mike reported that the seed pods are looking pretty good a nd expressed his concern about losing them. Mike stated that we needed to think very hard about how long they had been in the dark and to think what we needed to do to preserve the results of the experiment. Mike was advised of the current plan for Greenhouse. The cabling required to power Greenhouse is being researched. If power can be supplied to the SVET, the Greenhouse lights will be turned on for a little while. Water will also be supplied to the plants (Program 3). The radiogram for this has been supplied by the Russian/US PI team and is in work. Mike then reported that the leaves had curled some and that there were no more flowers present. There were large seed pods and that they looked pretty normal in appearance and size per the diagrams. Mike stated that he was very interested in opening one up for a look.

MOST was advised by the Russian ground team that a manual ventilation of beetle would occur tomorrow and that attempted power up would occur on Monday, June 30. MOST is trying to verify, but believes that the plan is for a permanent power up.

Apr 22 1997

Valery Ryumin
RSC Energiya
4 Lenin Street
Moscow Region, 141070

Greetings, Valeri!

The information you have sent us recently on the Mir systems status, plans for repair, and the consumables status has been very helpful in preparing for the upcoming Flight Readiness Reviews. I would like, However, for us to be able to present a joint picture of the Russian criteria for mission continuation and out rationale for concurrence with that criteria. I am forwarding a sample of some of the areas of concern that we feel should be addressed to answer the questions of senior NASA management. This information is based on the information from you and existing joint documents. Please review this and we will discuss it at our regular telecon on Tuesday. And please understand that this is in addition to current status. We are trying to show that we understand each other's safety criteria and mission management philosophy so that upper management can let us do our jobs without anxiety.

A part of the American approach to managing a spacecraft in flight is to develop a minimum equipment list which identifies the set of hardware that must be operational to initiate or continue the mission. This makes perfect sense when you are preparing to launch a spacecraft such as the Shuttle. Some of our managers expect us to provide such a list indicating what must be operational on the Mir before we would agree to transfer Foale or otherwise continue the mission, We understand that the Russian side does not manage Mir in that fashion, and we are trying to communicate what we believe is your philosophy to our management.

NASA MIR 4 mission, MD 93-96 (Edited)
Date: 14 April 1997 / Mission Day 93
Mir Station System/Subsystem Activities
KOB-2 Loop Leak Repair (entire crew)

Mission Science Payload Activities: QUELD Sample E-13;DOZA - TLD Processing

The crew reported the failed solid oxygen generator as well as the cut-out segments of the thermal pipes have been packed in ziplock bags in preparation for their return on STS-84.

The crew also mentioned that the 'Raketa' vacuum cleaner they have been using throughout their increment is failing. The crew is unsure if the black old vacuum cleaner they found onboard is functioning. The crew recommended manifesting a replacement ASAP and suggested STS-84. The ground gave no response to this suggestion.

Mir Systems

The Elektron system has been working continuously since Saturday evening. Its O2 production is not quite enough for three crewmembers, so the O2 is being supplemented with Progress O2 as required. This procedure is described in on-board documentation. They hope to maintain this mode of operation until Shuttle arrives with the new Elektron.

The Vosdukh system is working well. It's efficiency (with respect to removing moisture) will be improved by installing a fan to blow some cooling air onto the system.

Mir 23 / NASA 4 Status
Date: 13 April 1997
Mission Day: Mir 23 / NASA 4 MD 63 / 92

Mir Station System/Subsystem Activities Mir IFM Repair (entire crew) Rest (entire crew)

SMP/Medical: per day according to the first day of the exercise Cyclogram (treadmill and expanders). A radiogram from the Russian medical group has been prepared for uplink today or tomorrow, recommending that the commander and Jerry return to two hours of exercise per day in preparation for the EVA.

Private Family Conference
Successful 11 minute audio PFC between Jerry and Kathryn.

Mir Systems
Friday and Saturday, the Elektron system continued to shut down automatically after runs varying in duration between 3 and 20 minutes. Since last night, the system has run continuously for 22 hours without a problem (as of 1445 DMT). The crew was instructed to stop using air from the Progress, since the Elektron is now producing sufficient oxygen.

The Vosdukh system is removing CO2. The ppCO2 is now about 4.8 mmHg. The system is operating in an `off-nominal' mode. The lack of cooling (due to the VGK shutdown) is causing the systems water vapor removal to be less efficient, resulting in more water than usual being vented overboard with the CO2.

Leak checks continue on the VGK system in Kvant. There is some concern that the leak may be in a hydroconnector at a point with little or no access. More panels will be opened for examination tomorrow.

The Urine Processing System is also operating in an off-nominal mode. A Radiogram has been sent up to the crew with instructions on how to over-ride or work-around a problem with a micro-pump in the system. Urine is being transferred to one of the tanks on the Progress.

Mir 23 / NASA 4 Status (edited)
Date: 11 April 1997 / Mission Day: 90
Mir Station System/Subsystem Activities
IFM's (entire crew)

Mission Science Payload Activities
Sleep Study (NASA 4)

PAO: Press Conference held today between Jerry and reporters from JSC/KSC. Comm quality was spotty with a late start due to Mir-related discussions and a two-minute comm dropout. It was also terminated two minutes early by the SFD for further systems discussion. The MOST team will discuss the abruptness of the cutoff with Mr. Blagov.

Mir Systems
Per a conversation with V. Blagov, the VGK in Kvant 1 is still leaking, and therefore, will not provide cooling to the Vosdukh. Mr. Blagov said the plans are to operate the Vosdukh without cooling. He also said the Vosdukh system used in the design and ground testing of the BURAN had no thermal interface, so there is no concern with operating the Vosdukh for at least 30 days.

In this mode of operation, the system will dump moisture out of the cabin, so

the 30 day limit is related to the lower limit of ppH2O. At 09:49 DMT the ppH20 was 13.92 mm Hg. The Vosdukh was turned on in this mode before the 11:16 DMT pass, at which the crew reported nominal operations, i.e. no alarms. The nominal temperature limit for the CO2 absorbing beds, without degradation of efficiency, is 23C. If these beds are exposed to 50C air, the system will stop working (the CO2 removal beds will not remove CO2). The plans are to operate the Vosdukh in Kvant 1 in this mode until the leak in VGK can be found and repaired. The crew will be working on this activity until the leak can be found.

The crew is systematically searching for the leak in VGK. This includes isolating segments of lines and monitoring for a pressure drop. The crew was also asked to carefully inspect the hydroconnectors.

The Antares transmitter (which will be ready for shipment to the US on 20th April) will replace one of the two transmitters. One is hard failed, and the other is operational, but because of the lack of cooling (from KOB-1) to it, it will only operate for 10 minutes.

Date: 10 April 1997 / Mission Day 89
Mir Station System/Subsystem Activities: IFM's (entire crew)

Mir Systems

1. Jerry and Vasily (Tsibliev) completed removal of the leaking heat exchanger in Kvant, while Sasha (Lazutkin) worked on the Elektron filter bypass in Kvant II.

2. The pressure check of the Kvant VGK cooling loop showed the pressure decreased from 900 mmHg to 770 mmHg in 30 minutes. By the next pass, the crew had repressurized the loop to 898 mmHg, and by 20:01, had held pressure for over one hour. All heat exchangers are still clean and dry.

3. The Elektron in Kvant II was switched on, but then automatically shut down after 9 minutes. A malfunctioning BVKD pressure gauge was also detected. The crew was told to repeat the IFM procedure. It was suggested a new BVKD pressure gauge be added to the STS-84 manifest. At 20:02 DMT, the crew indicated they had activated the Elektron three additional times per the ground instructions and the unit worked for one minute, two minutes, and twelve minutes, respectively, before going into 'auto shutdown'. The ground said telemetry indicated a bad control unit and instructed the crew to swap the unit with the unit from the Kvant Elektron.

4. The Condensate Removal System (CRS) cooling fan in the Soyuz was showing 'negative function.' Currently, all Mir humidity removal is being performed by the Soyuz CRS. The ground is currently writing an IFM r/g for this.

5. According to the most recent 'Mir Onboard Systems and Consumables Status' received today, there are 14 unused LiOH canisters onboard as of yesterday.

Shuttle Mir Science Program / NASA 4 / Mir 23 Status
Date: April 3, 1997 - April 9, 1997
Mission Days: 82-88 (NASA 4) / 53-59 (Mir 23)

Mir Systems

Telemetry - The OMOTsAO unit failed yesterday; this device stores uplinked executable commands, in particular, the command for the MIPS downlink. That means that there will be no MIPS downlink available until the system is repaired. Repair activities on this unit are scheduled for 14 April.Suggestion will be made to Jerry to use the Packet system. (Jim Medford and Ed Walters (MOD) are trying to understand what the MOTsA is. The SM IPT is going to see if a similar unit is in phase 2. This is the first appearance of this in our documentation.

Progress - Successful Auto-docking of the Progress occurred last night at 20:30 DMT. The crew was directed to open the hatch early last night and to temporarily suspend using candles, utilizing the O2 from the Progress. Not sure if ethylene glycol was carried on this flight or how much in case they need to replace the amount leaked out from the thermal system. They were not sure if another solid oxygen generator unit was flown up. The POSA will get the manifest and send it to me in the next week or so.

I have asked for a contact on understanding how they use the O2 from the Progress to replemish the MIR oxygen. Jim Medford is the contact to get this info. The Russians apparently use this process all the time (ie, not just as a result of the recent failures). I therefor suspect we will do it for Station and suggest it would be helpful to understand this capability. I believe we have maintained a record of the atm content pre and post Progress docking.

Repair plan - Two crew members working on removing the leaking heat exchanger from the VGK loop in Kvant 1. The crew will cut and cap the pipes leading in and out of the leaking heat exchanger in the Kvant 1.After the loop has been leak checked, the Vozdukh system will be reactivated. The goal is to complete this activity and reactivate the loop by the end of the 10th. The ground personnel are confident that the remaining three heat exchangers will be adequate to handle the system load.

The other crew member is working on the Elektron system in Kvant 2. The original goal was to repair and re-start the unit on the 9th. We do not have a status on this yet.

Date: 9 April 1997 / Mission Day: 88

Experiment Operations: Victor Blagov informed us Energia management has set a deadline of the 15th of April to successfully complete the maintenance activities. If these activities are not finished, then the EVA may be in jeopardy. Furthermore, he requested we clear Jerry's calendar of science through Friday, 11 April, to permit him to work on the maintenance activity. As a result, Jerry will perform only the Sleep experiment and CSST on Friday, April 11. Jerry on a later pass said he does not have any problem performing system maintenance activities, but wanted to make sure the cancellation/delay of science is analyzed carefully.

SMP/Medical: The time reserved for a PMC was used for a regular US comm pass on the open air-to-ground. Soloviev spoke with the crew on the open air-to-ground. He made two 'commands'. First priority: the crew obey the work-rest schedule with a full eight hours of sleep each night. Second priority: No science until station repair operations are complete.

Date: 8 April 1997 // Mission Day 87

Mir Systems

1. Progress 234 - At 19:05 DMT, the crew was informed that ground commands to activate the two TORU (manual docking system) transmitters onboard Progress 234 were unsuccessful. The decision was made for one attempt using the Automatic Docking System. By 20:23 DMT the TORU transmitters were reported to be up and functioning.

2. Successful Auto-docking occurred at 20:30 DMT; hatch opening occurred prior to the next comm. pass. Direction for early hatch opening tonight was given to utilize the O2 onboard the Progress. As of 22:30 DMT the crew has not entered the Progress.

3. On the day after docking, two crew members will be scheduled to work on removing the leaking heat exchanger from the VGK loop in Kvant 1. The other will be working on the Elektron system in Kvant 2.

Date: 3 April 1997 / Mission Day 82

Mir Station System/Subsystem Activities
Replace PTAB Unit #2 in Priroda
Clean Mir power connectors x-301 and x-302

Mir Systems

Mr. Blagov reported the Vosdukh (CO2 Removal System) was shutdown due to a lack of thermal control from the VGK system in the core module. Some time ago, the core module's VGK and KOH-1V loops (which were originally independent loops) were re-plumbed to create one loop. This was done to reduce the number of required pump panels (one pump panel can support both loops). Earlier in the week, the pressure of the KOH-1V began dropping. Today, the delta pressure at the pump panel dropped to zero, resulting in a shutdown of the loop. The plans are to separate the loops back to two independent loops and determine if another leak exists and isolate it. Mr. Blagov estimated the on-board supply of LiOH canisters would last 10 days, and stated a 15 day supply is manifested on the Progress, docking next week. Currently, the priority of the loop repairs has not been established.

Note: This VGK loop is a separate loop from the one discussed in earlier reports. At last report, the other VGK loop (in Kvant 2) was being patched with an IFM procedure the ground had sent up, and was nearly complete.

Mir 23 / NASA 4 Daily Status Reports (Edited) // Period of April 2-3, 1997
Date: 2 April 1997 / Mission Day 81

Experiment Hardware:

1. EDLS - Jerry saw a green light flash inside the drive door and on panel every three seconds regardless of activity. We have not pursued this report as a high priority item. At the present time it is believed that all of the MiSDE PCMCIA disks are full. We are waiting to hear Jerry's report on the disk status before determining whether any future EDLS sessions will be scheduled.

2. Orientation - It has been reported by the crew the Orientation session ran into difficulties when Jerry was unable to activate the system. This is still being investigated by the Russian specialists; however, it appears that it is possible, repeat, possible, radiation has hit the PCMCIA cards. They are believed to be static PCMCIA cards of the type originally used by MIPS.

Video System - Video downlink of the CNN Interview was accomplished. The video quality was poor; according to the Russian specialist, the signal was distorted due to problems between Russian ground sites.

Subject: Telecon Notes
Date: Tuesday, April 01, 1997 9:36AM
Regular Tuesday Ops Telecon 4/1/97

1) Shuttle Status - Mentioned RCS seal-saver problem on OV-104, no launch impact expected as of now.

2) Mir Status - Yuri A. reviewed thermal loop status. Due to Kvant II internal loop leak that module is running about 3 deg C higher than normal but still within allowed limits. Also one of the solar array batteries (sets?) is running a little warm due to the reduced cooling. They plan to use the sealant to repair the leaks tomorrw but it will take a total of three days (curing time) before the loop is running. Victor emphasized that this is the only loop they think is leaking into the cabin, the other loop leaks are believed to be internal....

Victor also pointed out that while everybody in Houston is worried about O2 generation, the Russians are feeling far more vulnerable in the thermal loop area.

Repair plans/order after Progress is 1) Elektron filter bypass (3 hrs), 2) thermal loop leak troubleshooting (flourescent dye tracer), and then EVA preps April 15th).

3) They have received the copy of the STS-81 joint incidents report and have several 'updates' TTI/B. Fingerov will provide them with an electronic copy of the TTI translation to facilitate markups.

4) The strategy for the potential addition of the sixth docked day was discussed. Victor proposed that the first activity was to transfer and install the Elektron, on the first docked day, even before seat transfer. That would keep from breaking up the currently planned sequence of docked activities. (I do not see any problems with this, if Phase 1 is OK with it). The existing Elektron unit will already have been removed before docking.

Note: Victor indicated that we were returning the fluid units for BOTH elektrons on Mir now. This is not my understanding. He said the electronic control modules are OK, only the fluid units need to be returned. I thought we have told Vorobiev we did not have room for both. Also, this proposal gives insight into their confidence in getting the onboard unit working....

5) Other topics addressed were STS-86 timelines (sleep cycle) and changes to the comm and interactions document 3245. Victor mention that THEY HAD TALKED TO THE 86 CREW WHILE THEY WERE IN MOSCOW AND TALKED ABOUT ADDING A 6th DOCKED DAY... More work remains on these last items.

From: Rotter, Hank A
Sent: Friday, March 21, 1997 9:55 AM
To: Sandars, George W.; Miller, C. Rick
Cc: Winkler, Eugene; Hoy, Mike; Brasseaux, Hubert J Jr.
Subject: FW: Mir Status Concern

ECLSS assessment of Mir hardware systems.

The Mir ECLSS systems are primary located in the Base (Core) Module and the Kvant Module. Active Thermal Control Core has two thermal control loops 1 is operating currently at reduced internal pressure. Radiator loop for heat rejection has lost auto control - manual control is being use and is acceptable for long periods (hours-weeks) at same attitude 2 is non operating has tubing leaks near pump package - plan to replace leaking tubing, when repair is plan-unknown. Radiator auto control still working with manual backup Kvant has one thermal control loop. Radiator flow lost. Loop has been connect to operating Core loop. Can be connect to either Core loop. Overall performance is slightly reduced.

Concern - leaks and flow problems indicates long-term corrosion problems that may quickly attack new replacements?? System health is marginal with long term problems. Performance marginal which drives desirable attitudes during periods of high Beta sun angles. Any additional failures could cause Mir to be abandon if fix cannot be implemented within a few days/hours.

The following quotation is from an interview with former cosmonaut Vladimir Kovalyonok, now a "Colonel General" (3-star) in charge of the Zhukovskiy Military Air Engineering Academy. It was published in the Russian army newspaper "Red Star" (Krasnaya Zvezda) on Nov 21, 1995:

"Today Russia is also finding it extremely difficult to hold onto its space achievements. Everyone in the world was familiar with two words: Volga and Gagarin. They were our calling card. And we must hang onto space by all means in our power -- these are state priorities. The days and nights we spent in orbit in the past were achieved at the cost of people's health and people's lives. Each and every one of us was aware that the flight was the crowning glory of the vast labor by hundreds of thousands of ordinary people in our country. We learned to work in space. No matter what efforts were made by the Americans, we still managed to prove that our programs were better. Look at the orbital stations. We started to really recoup our expenditures through studies of natural resources, through oceanology -- or look at my work on taking the fisheries fleet out into the open waters of the world ocean. This is reality, after all.



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