Distress signals

Further repair of the damaged space station Mir has been postponed till further notice. Mir was hit by a cargo vehicle overloaded with garbage on June 25. The repairs have been put off as the present three-member crew is weary from the troubleshooting its been called upon to do after the accident. Mir's electric network remains to be reconnected with solar panels on one of the six modules that make up the space station. This module was punctured by the cargo ship. In the ensuing confusion, the crew disconnected the solar panels from the Mir electrical network, draining off half the station's power.

Meanwhile, Mir faced and successfully tackled yet another crisis when a crew member accidentally tugged at a computer plug, disabling the spacestation's orientation in relation to the Sun and dipping power levels. Heaven and earth were moved through the night of July 17 to save the spaceship, operational since the 1986.The astronaut, Alexander Lazutkin and ground engineers could manage to reset the compu-ter, making Mir steady and directing the solar panels towards the sun while the other two astronauts Russian Vasily Tsibliev and American Michael Foale slept. Tsibliev was particularly in need of rest as he was undergoing medication for irregular heartbeat. According to Russian space officials, he is depressed over the problems being faced by Mir. However, the mission's chief physician Igor Goncharev declined to link the recent accident to the astronaut's health condition.

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