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Mir Fate

Russian Space Heads to Meet on Mir Station's Fate 

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian space officials will hold a ''decisive'' meeting 
this week that could spell the end -- or a new life -- for the accident-prone 
Mir space station, a Russian Space Agency spokesman said Tuesday.

Sergei Gorbunov told Reuters officials would meet on Thursday to decide 
whether to recommend to the government that Mir be left in space or brought 
down into the Pacific Ocean in a ball of fire.

``We certainly see this as a deciding moment. In the end the government will 
make the final decision, but it will be based on our recommendations,'' 
Gorbunov said in a telephone interview.

``The government trusts us and will give full weight to whatever we 

Deputy Prime Ministers Ilya Klebanov and Alexei Kudrin made announcements in 
early October that seemed to indicate that the government favored ditching 
the 15-year-old space station.

Gorbunov said the key question hanging over Mir was the government's ability 
to come up with millions of dollars needed to keep it in orbit. 

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