Astronomy and Space


How long was the Mir space station in space?

The first component, a 20.4 ton core module, of the Mir space station was launched in February 1986. The core module served as the living and working quarters, including the communications and command center, of the space station. Five more modules were launched and attached to ports on the core module over the next ten years. Mir had self-contained oxygen, power, and water generation capabilities allowing cosmonauts and astronauts to spend extended periods of time in space. Scientific investigations aboard Mir included space technology experiments, life science and biological research, astrophysics, and material processing tests. Much of the life science and biological research focused on the effects of microgravity on humans and flora and fauna.

Since some of the astronauts spent many months at a time in Mir, it was possible to study the physiological differences in long and short duration missions. Space technology studies investigated various materials for space use and the effects of the low Earth orbit environment on various materials. The Mir space station was de-orbited on March 23, 2001 after more than 86,000 orbits around Earth. The space station broke into several large pieces and thousands of smaller ones over the Pacific Ocean. There were no injuries.


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