Mir operations in 1990

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A cosmonaut wearing the SPK maneuvering unit prepares to disengage from the Kvant-2 module on the Mir space station in February 1990.

Missions to Mir in 1990:

Soyuz TM-9
Feb. 11
Aug. 9
Anatoly Soloviev, Alexander Balandin
Progress M-3
March 1
April 27
May 5
May 27
May 31
2001 March 23
Soyuz TM-10
Aug. 1
Dec. 10
Gennady Manakov, Gennady Strekalov
Progress M-4
Aug. 15
Sept. 17
Progress M-5
Sept. 27
Nov. 28
Soyuz TM-11
Dec. 2
1991 May 26
Viktor Afanasiev, Musa Manarov, Toyohiro Akiyama (Japan) (ret. Soyuz TM-10)

*Deorbit date for Progress vehicles and Mir modules

**Members of long-term (EO) expeditions are shown in bold

(Sources: 161, 52)

Expedition 6 (EO-6)

The fifth long-term crew, which arrived at Mir on Sept. 8, 1989, remained onboard the station until February 19, 1990.

Shortly before returning to Earth, on February 1 and February 5, 1990, Viktorenko and Serebrov exited a brand-new Kvant-2 module to test manned manuevering unit, SPK. Unlike Shuttle astronauts, who tested a similar device in 1984, the cosmonauts remained tethered to the station. Without a tether, a failure of the maneuvering unit or any other problem during a free flight would leave a man stranded in the emptiness of space, while station did not have the maneuverability of the Shuttle to pick a helpless cosmonaut.

On February 13, 1990 a new crew, including Anatoly Soloviev and Aleksandr Balandin arrvied to Mir onboard Soyuz TM-9, to relieve Viktorenko and Serebrov.

On June 10, 1990, the expedition recieved a new permanent extension to the Mir space station -- the Kristall research module, which featured a docking port compatible with the Buran reusable orbiter.

Expedition 7 (EO-7)

On Aug. 3, 1990, the Soyuz TM-10 delivered the seventh long-duration expedition to Mir, including Gennady Manakov and Gennady Strekalov. They relieved Soloviev and Balandin, who landed on Aug. 9, 1990.

In November, upon conclusion of its mission to Mir, the Progress M-5 spacecraft, jettisoned a retrievable capsule dubbed Raduga, expanding the capability of returning cargo from orbit.

Expedition 8 (EO-8)

The eight long-term expedition boarded Mir on Dec. 4, 1990. Along with two cosmonaut, the Japanese TV reporter, Toyohiro Akiyama, arrived to the station on a privately financed assignment. After a week-long stay onboard the station, Akiyama returned to Earth with the Expedition 7 crew, which landed on December 10, 1990.

Expedition 6 (EO-6) EVA activities:

Participants: Viktorenko, Serebrov

Jan. 1
2 hours 57 minutes
Jan. 12
2 hours 56 minutes
Jan. 26
3 hours 5 minutes
Feb. 1
4 houres 58 minutes
SPK test
Feb. 5
5 hours 45 minutes
SPK test

Cosmoanuts wearing the SPK maneuvering unit float outside of the Mir space station in February 1990. Credit: RKK Energia

The Mir space station as seen by a cosmonaut flying with the SPK maneuvering unit. Credit: RKK Energia


The Mir space station with the Kvant and Kvant-2 modules, photographed in February 1990 by the departing crew of the Soyuz TM-8 spacecraft. Loose thermal insulation can be seen on the reentry vehicle of the Soyuz TM-9 spacecraft on the right side of the photo. Credit: RKK Energia



The Mir space station after the arrival of the Kristall module. Credit: IKI