NASA to put another U.S. astronaut aboard troubled Mir
May 2, 1997
Web posted at: 11:15 p.m. EDT
From Correspondent John Holliman
(CNN) -- Overcoming concerns about the life-support system on
Russia's Mir space station, NASA has decided to send another
astronaut to Mir for an extended stay.
"I'm very comfortable with safety on Mir now," said Frank
Culbertson, manager of the NASA-Mir program.
Astronaut Jerry Linenger is ending his four months on Mir
later this month, and astronaut Mike Foale is to replace him.
Earlier this week, Linenger became the first American to make
a spacewalk in the latest lightweight Russian spacesuit.
It worked well, but the oxygen generators, air cleaners,
cooling system and humidity-control systems on the Russian
space station all failed over the past five weeks. There was
a fire aboard the craft in February.
Backup systems kept him and the cosmonauts alive, but the
situation worried NASA Administrator Daniel Goldin.
"As soon as these problems occurred, I felt very concerned
because I feel personally concerned for the families of the
astronauts. Their families expect it."
The Russian in charge of Mir is confident enough to send his
own wife on next week's Atlantis shuttle mission.
"If I had any doubts in my mind that safety is in jeopardy, I
would have come up with excuses and might have withdrawn the
desire on her part to fly," Velery Ryumin of the Russian
Space Agency said.
The shuttle is filled with repair parts and supplies for Mir.
Most important, a new oxygen generator for the Russian
station is on board.
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