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Mir's Computer To Be Switched Off

.c The Associated Press

MOSCOW (AP) - Russia's Mission Control prepared Tuesday to switch off the Mir 
space station's central computer and other systems to save energy during a 
planned six months of unmanned flight. 

The ground controllers waited for a week after the station's last permanent 
crew returned to Earth to let Mir's interiors dry before switching the 
temperature control to the minimum on Tuesday. 

Early Wednesday, they will switch off the Mir's computer, its orientation 
system and other equipment, letting the station rotate freely in orbit, said 
Valery Lyndin, a Mission Control spokesman. 

Mission Control will help adjust the station's position in orbit if it sees 
that the station's energy supply is dropping below the level needed. The 
temperature control system will be running on low to protect vital systems 
from freezing, Lyndin said. 

Switching off the computer and other systems will allow energy and the 
computer's resources to be conserved for the docking of a final crew in 
February or March. The cleanup crew is expected to spend about a month aboard 
the station, gradually lowering its orbit. 

Immediately after the cosmonauts leave, ground controllers will lower the 
140-ton station to burn it up in the atmosphere, guiding its remnants into 
the Pacific Ocean. 

The cash-strapped Russian government has said it can no longer pay for the 
13-year-old Mir's operation. However, instead of bringing the station down 
right after the recent crew's departure, it decided to leave it in orbit in 
hopes of finding private funds to keep it aloft. 

All previous such fund-raising attempts have failed, and 

Few believe that money will be found. 
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