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MIR Mirror update



FYI- From ABC News website...

By Vladimir Isachenkov
The Associated Press
M O S C O W,   Feb. 5 - Russian officials scrapped the Mir space station's
much-hyped space mirror experiment today after the shiny metal object got
stuck and failed to properly unfurl. 
     The Mir crew sent the mirror, attached to a cargo ship filled with
trash, into the earth's atmosphere this afternoon. After mostly burning up
during re-entry, the husk dropped harmlessly into the Pacific Ocean,
officials said. 
     It was a big disappointment for Russia's struggling space agency, which
had billed the project as a display of its ability to conduct pioneering,
ambitious projects despite a lack of funds. 
     The mirror was supposed to work like an artificial moon, reflecting a
beam of sunlight across the earth. But its petal-like segments failed to
unfold Thursday after a deployment mechanism jammed. 
     The mirror, which was to reach 83 feet in diameter when fully extended,
was attached to a Progress cargo ship and jettisoned Thursday from the Mir.
Cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Sergei Avdeyev then sent a remote command to
unfold the mirror, made of a thin membrane covered with a silver metal
layer. 
     The mirror started rotating, and a system of weights and strings began
to pull out the thin membranes on the flower-like structure. But the
deployment mechanism jammed and the mirror stopped spinning. 
Space Experts Stumped 
Exasperated crew and ground controllers struggled for hours to fix the
hitch, and even got the mirror rotating again by shaking it with repeated
blasts of the cargo ship's jets - only to see it stop a second time. 
     Finally, when it became clear that the mirror would not unfurl, Mission
Control decided to cancel the experiment. 
     Space experts today could not figure out why the mirror did not unfurl.

     "The mood here is very depressed," said Valery Lyndin, a spokesman for
the Mission Control. "The failure was especially painful because of huge
worldwide interest that the experiment aroused." 
     "We have forgotten the old principle of Russian space programs - to do
something first and boast about it only after," he added. 
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