MirNews No. 474

Status Report From: MIRNews
Posted: Tuesday, April 4, 2000

Status space station MIR:

As of 24.03.2000 the  main computer and the SUD (system for the control of movements) continuously control the attitude  of the MIR-complex with the use of the gyrodynes.  When the main computer was working again with new installed data, the gyrodynes were activated again and spinning at full speed.  In the period in which the station was unstaffed these systems had been tested regularly. Now everything is aimed at the arrival of the Soyuz-TM30 with a new crew. During a session of  the relevant  commission on 24.03.2000 green light has been given for at least one expedition to the MIR station. The crew and the reserve crew for that mission have been in Baykonur to inspect their ship.  During a press-conference after that meeting the commission again confirmed that the promised money for the training and flight of Steklov had not been received and that the actor will not fly (this time). The commission decided to give permission for a flight of 45 days, but it might be possible that the flight will be  extended up to 90 days.  Nothing has been decided about an eventual following flight.

Main purpose of the flight of this 28th Main Expedition to MIR is to inspect the state of all systems of the complex in order  to analyse  whether the station is suitable for the accomodation of crews in the near future.  The highest priority for this crew is the search for the mysterious leakage of air and the eventual elimination of that problem.

When   the crew of the 27th Main Expition was about to return to earth in August 1999, specialists at TsUP considered the possibility to put back the return a few days to enable that crew to solve this problem, but this idea was cancelled as  in that case the crew had to land in darkness. Thusfar there has been no answer to the question in which part of the complex the leakage might be.

Altitude of the complex: Perigee is 335 KM, Apogee 356 KM. The period is 91.2 minutes.

Communications: For the communications between TsUP Moscow and MIR the Russians have to depend on the tracking stations within the territory of the Russian Federation and Kazakhstan (Dzhusali near Baykonur). Until 29.08.1999 TsUP also got the support from American tracking stations at White Sands, Dryden and Wallops.  It is unlikely that this will be possible during the future exploitation of MIR due to the American dissatisfaction with MIR's  prolongation.  Furthermore the Russians do not yet have a geostationary satellite for the MIR-TsUP communications. The plan is to position such a satellite, the Altair-3 over 16 degrees West this   summer, but sofar it is unsure if the Russians can use this satellite for MIR because of the fact that this satellite has to be used for the Russian segment of the ISS, the service module Zvezda. In fact the systems of that new satellite are suited for both purposes. The systems are equal to those of the previous Altairs and Luch-1 transponders.  Telemetry transmitters MIR:  Still in the 166 and 165 mc bands, but also now and then, mostly a few minutes before LOS, in the   634 mc band.  Always somewhat lower than this frequency  due to the Doppler effect.

Soyuz-TM30: This transportship with on board the crew for the 28th Main Expedition (Zalyotin and Kaleri), will be launched from Baykonur on 4.04.2000 at 05.01.26UTC. The ship has to dock at MIR on 6.04.2000 at about 0630UTC.   This is 8 minutes after LOS for Western Europe. The radio traffic during the last phase of the approach can be heard in Wetern Europe  between 0616 and 0622UTC on 121.750 FM-N.  When the crew is on board of MIR the radio traffic can be monitored via 143.625 mc FM-N.

Approx. 3 hrs after   launch Soyuz-TM30  comes in my  range  and can be heard on 121.750 mc and the telemetry channels in the 165 and 166 bands and via 922.755 mc.

The main crew, Zalyotin and Kaleri, will use the call-signs  Yenisey-1 and  2.

The standins Sharipov and Vinogradov, got the call  Tan-Syan.   Chris van den Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202

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