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Mir Needs Good Spring Cleaning

May 19, 1997| From Associated Press

HOUSTON — The captains of the orbiting Mir-Atlantis complex said Sunday the patched Russian space station is safe, for now anyway, but could use a good spring cleaning.

Atlantis commander Charles Precourt said he's satisfied with conditions on the 11-year-old Mir for astronaut Michael Foale, who just began a 4 1/2-month tour of station duty.

Foale is settling into his new home with help from his predecessor, astronaut Jerry Linenger, who will be aboard NASA's shuttle when it undocks Wednesday night after five days of linked flight.

During Linenger's four months on Mir, the station caught fire, overheated, leaked fumes, lost use of a couple oxygen generators and accumulated too much carbon dioxide in the air.

Mir commander Vasily Tsibliev said the situation has improved greatly in recent weeks. The repair equipment ferried up on Atlantis will help.

"You see I'm alive and healthy, smiling, so the condition of the station is just the same way," Tsibliev told a television interviewer. "Of course, we've got now quite a bit of cargo and equipment that's old and outdated and we've either got to throw it away or take it away from the station."

Precourt said except for the addition of two new modules, Mir looks pretty much like it did when he visited two years ago--cluttered.

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