Shuttle News: September 1997 Archives

As you know, the Mir station is currently in its twelfth year on orbit, and of course all of its systems are operating beyond their intended service life. Our philosophy on service life is that we assess the impact of failure of any instruments or assemblies, and if such failure poses no threat to crew safety, then we allow them to operate not only for the length of their service life, but until they actually fail.

In general, the operating life of the majority of instruments will greatly exceed their official service life. Based on this, a plan was formed to supply the station with the necessary spare parts for instruments and assemblies. Where critical instruments that affect crew safety are concerned, we keep a supply of spares on board; for noncritical instruments, the spares are on the ground and are delivered to the station by the Shuttle or Progress as needed. Of course, there is a certain amount of risk associated with such an approach, and it is not beyond criticism, but taking into account our limited choices, it is perhaps the only possible option, and one that will allow us to achieve out ultimate goal of having a constant crew presence on board the station.

In terms of the expendable materials, in terms of the present state of affairs we are within the agreed limits established by the joint document "Primary Mir Station system requirements enabling continuation of the American astronaut's mission."



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This page is an archive of entries in the Shuttle News category from September 1997.

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