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History of "Mir'

Notable events in the 15-year history of Russia's Mir space station:

1986: The Soviet Union launches the core module of Mir on Feb. 20, predicting the station will last three to five years. The first crew takes off for the station on March 13.

1987: The station's second component, Kvant 1, arrives at Mir but has trouble docking. Crew members find refuse stuck on the docking port.

1991: A cargo ship goes out of control during its final approach to the station, nearly colliding with Mir. The chaos and financial troubles accompanying the collapse of the Soviet Union force Mir's crew to stay in orbit months longer than scheduled.

1995 Russian Valery Polyakov returns from a 438-day mission, more than 14 months, the longest continuous human space flight. Norman Thagard becomes the first American to visit Mir.

1997: A series of dramatic accidents starts on Feb. 23 with an oxygen-generating canister bursting into flames and nearly forcing the crew to evacuate. On June 25, a cargo ship rams the station during a practice manual docking, puncturing a laboratory module, but the crew quickly seals it off, saving the station. Two days later, a computer crashes. In July, a cosmonaut disconnects a power plug prematurely, setting the station adrift. A month later, the main computer fails during a cargo ship docking, setting the station adrift again.

1999: Russia announces Mir will be taken out of orbit in 2000 unless more money can be found and a crew that is widely expected to be the station's last returns to Earth on Aug. 27. Russian Sergei Avdeyev sets the record for total time spent in space _ 747 days in three missions.

2000: The Russian government says a deal to lease Mir to Netherlands-based MirCorp falls through and Mir will be dumped.

_ ASSOCIATED PRESS

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