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CHRONOLOGY-Key events in life of Russia's Mir

MOSCOW, Aug 27 (Reuters) - The crew of Russia's Mir space station made last 
minute preparations on Friday to end what is likely to be the last mission on 
the troubled 13-year-old craft. 

The two Russian cosmonauts and one Frenchman will quit Mir, which will fly 
unmanned for several months before plunging back to earth, probably in 
February or March next year. 

Russian space experts are mourning the end of Russia's independent space 
programme, when Mir will be pushed into a lower orbit to burn out in the 
Earth's atmosphere. 

Following is a chronology of several major events in Mir's history: 

Feb 20, 1986 - The first part of the Mir space station is launched into 

March 13, 1986 - Leonid Kizim and Vladimir Solovyov become the first crew on 

April 11, 1987  - Cosmonauts Yuri Romanenko and Alexander Laveikin take the 
first space walk to see why the Kvant 1 scientific module could not dock. 

1991 - Sergei Krikalyev goes up to space as a Soviet officer. When he lands, 
the Soviet Union had fallen apart. 

March, 1994 - U.S. astronaut Norman Thagard becomes the first American to 
stay on board Mir. 

June 29, 1995 - A U.S. shuttle docks with Mir and commander Robert ``Hoot'' 
Gibson opens the hatch and floats into Mir to shake hands with Russian 
commander Vladimir Dezhurov. It is the first docking of international 
spacecraft since July 1975 when the U.S. Apollo and Soviet Soyuz crews joined 
hands in orbit. The mission began a planned series of seven shuttle visits. 

April 23, 1996 - Russia launches the fifth and final module for Mir. The 
Priroda (nature) science laboratory carries scientific equipment, including 
optical systems for research of the Earth's resources. 

Aug 19, 1996 - Six cosmonauts from Russia, France and the United States meet 
aboard Mir. A Russian Soyuz-U rocket takes France's first woman in space, 
Claudie Andre-Deshays. 

Feb 24, 1997 - Fire breaks out when cosmonauts try to change an air filter. 
German Reinhold Ewald, American Jerry Linenger, Russians Vasily Tsibliyev, 
Alexander Lazutkin, Alexander Koleri and Valery Korzun on board. The crew 
have to spend some time in gas masks after fumes are released during the 

June 25, 1997 - A Progress cargo craft hits Mir during docking, puncturing 
one of its modules and damaging solar batteries. Energy supply falls 

Sept 22, 1997 - Computer crashes and sends Mir spinning, out of orientation 
from sun. A day is required to restore normal flight. The station suffered 
similar mishaps on Sept 8 and 14. 

June 9, 1998 - The last U.S. astronaut leaves Mir, ending U.S.-Russian 
cooperation on the orbiting outpost. 

Feb 22, 1999 - The remaining two members of what was destined to be Mir's 
last crew, Viktor Afanasyev and Frenchman Jean-Pierre Haignere, arrive at 
Mir, joinining engineer Sergei Avdeyev on board. 

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