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Vectors For October 2003

greg goebel ( / public domain

* VECTORS is an original newsletter of fact and commentary on aerospace, technology, science, and historical topics.

[1] AVIATION: Jet Engines (20)
[2] SPACE HISTORY: The Fall & Rise Of The Space Race (37)

[1] AVIATION: Jet Engines (20)

* ISHIKAWAJIMA-HARIMA J3 & F3: The Japanese firm of Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries (IHI) has focused mostly on license-production of engines of foreign design, including the GE J47, J79, and F100, as well as the Rolls-Turbomeca Adour, and has participated in multinational collaborations such as International Aero Engines.

The company has also produced Japanese engine designs. The first Japanese IHI engine to enter production actually began life at Fuji Heavy Industries in the 1950s as the "JO-1" axial-flow turbojet, with that powerplant performing its initial bench test in 1954, leading to the first bench test of the refined "J3" engine in July 1956. The J3 was to power the first indigenous postwar Japanese jet aircraft, the Fuji T-1 single-engine trainer, but Fuji fell behind schedule and work on the J3 was transferred to IHI. Not surprisingly, transferring the engine from Fuji to IHI led to more delay, and so the initial T-1A trainer used the Bristol Orpheus turbojet. IHI worked out the engine problems, with the first T-1B trainer powered by a "J3-IHI-3" turbojet with 11.7 kN (1,200 kgp / 2,650 lbf) thrust.

This was not a generous amount of power, and there was work on refitting the T-1B with an uprated "J3-IHI-7" engine providing 13.7 kN (1,400 kgp / 3,090 lbf) thrust, but only three conversions were performed. The J3-IHI-7 was, however, used as a booster engine on the turboprop-powered Lockheed-Kawasaki P-2J Neptune, with one J3-IHI-7 mounted outboard under each wing.

The J3-IHI-7 was a simple single-spool turbojet, with an eight-stage compressor; an annular combustion chamber with 30 nozzles; and a single-stage turbine. Maximum takeoff thrust was 13.7 kN (1,400 kgp / 3,080 lbf).


   _____________________   ____________________   ____________________
   spec                    metric                 english
   _____________________   ____________________   ____________________

   diameter                62.7 centimeters       24.7 inches
   length                  1.994 meters           6 feet 6.5 inches
   dry weight              430 kilograms          948 pounds

   thrust (MTO)            13.7 kN / 1,400 kgp    3,080 lbf
   pressure ratio          4.5:1
   TSFC (MTO)              27.9 mg / N-s          1.05 lb / lb-h
   airflow                 25.4 kg / sec          56 pounds / sec
   TWR (MTO)               3.26

   compressor              8 stage
   combustor               annular, 30 nozzles
   turbine                 1 stage
   starter system          electric starter in intake bullet
   _____________________   ____________________   ____________________

* IHI began work on a small turbofan, the "XF3-1", in 1976, leading to a series of improved prototypes, and selection of this engine for the Kawasaki T-4 twin-engine trainer in 1982. The first production "F3-IHI-30" engine was delivered in late 1987.

The F3-IHI-30 is a two-spool turbofan, with a two-stage fan without inlet guide vanes; a five-stage compressor, with the first two stages featuring variable stators; an annular combustor, with twelve dual nozzles; a single-stage air-cooled HP turbine; and a two-stage LP turbine with tip shrouds. Bypass ratio is 0.9 and the max takeoff thrust is 16.37 kN (1,670 kgp / 3,680 lbf).


   _____________________   ____________________   ____________________
   spec                    metric                 english
   _____________________   ____________________   ____________________

   inlet diameter          56.0 centimeters       22 inches
   length                  1.340 meters           4 feet 4.76 inches
   dry weight              340 kilograms          750 pounds

   thrust (MTO)            16.37 kN / 1,670 kgp   3,680 lbf
   pressure ratio          2.6
   bypass ratio            0.9
   TSFC (MTO)              19.83 mg / N-s         0.7 lb / lb-h
   airflow                 34 kg / sec            75 pounds / sec
   TWR (MTO)               4.91

   fan / LP compressor     2 stage, no inlet guide vanes
   HP compressor           5 stage
   combustor               annular with 12 dual nozzles
   HP turbine              1 stage
   LP turbine              2 stage with tip shrouds
   _____________________   ____________________   ____________________

* Kawasaki of Japan has done some work on small turbojets, developing a "KJ12" prototype engine in the early 1980s. The KJ12 was a fairly typical simple small turbojet, with a single-stage centrifugal compressor, an annular combustion chamber, and a single-stage turbine. It had a length of 65.3 centimeters (25.7 inches); a maximum diameter of 31.4 centimeters (12.4 inches); a dry weight of 40 kilograms (88 pounds); and a max thrust of 1.47 kN (150 kgp / 331 lbf). It appears to have been throttleable.

It is unclear if Kawasaki ever put an engine along these lines into production. However, in the early 1990s the Japanese introduced an antiship missile, the "ASM-2", which is powered by an unspecified turbojet, possibly a descendant of the KJ12.

* GENERAL ELECTRIC GE T700 TURBOSHAFT / CT7 TURBOPROP: In 1967, General Electric began work on a new turboshaft engine demonstrator designated the "GE12" in response to US Army interest in a next-generation utility helicopter. The Army effort led, in the 1970s, to development of the Sikorsky S-70 Black Hawk, powered by twin GE "T700" turboshafts, the production descendant of the GE12.

The T700 was initially bench-tested in 1973, passed military qualification in 1976, and went into production in 1978. The initial "T700-GE-700" is an ungeared free-turbine turboshaft, with a five-stage axial / one-stage centrifugal mixed-flow compressor, featuring one-piece "blisk" axial stages, with the inlet guide vanes and first two stator stages variable; an annular combustion chamber with central fuel injection to improve combustion and reduce smoke; a two-stage compressor turbine; and a two-stage free power turbine with tip-shrouded blades. The engine is designed for high reliability, featuring an inlet particle separator designed to spin out dirt, sand, and dust. The T700-GE-700 is rated at 1,210 kW (1,622 SHP) intermediate power.

The T700-GE-700 was followed by improved and uprated Army engine variants for the Black Hawk and the AH-64 Apache helicopter gunships, as well as marinized naval engine variants for the S-70B Seahawk derivative of the Black Hawk, the Kaman SH-2G Super Seasprite, and the Bell AH-1W Supercobra. T700s are also used on Italian and commercial variants of the Westland-Augusta EH101 helicopter, and Italian variants of the NH NH90 helicopter. These are all twin-engine machines.

The commercial version of the T700 is the "CT7", with the engine used on the Bell 214ST (an enlarged version of the Huey), commercial Black Hawks, and the Sikorsky S-92 derivative of the Black Hawk, all of which are twin-engine helicopters. There are also turboprop versions of the CT7, of which more is said below.



   variant    power                 machine  notes

   T700-GE-700  1.00             Black Hawk  initial version
   T700-GE-701  1.10                 Apache 
   T700-GE-701C 1.20      Black Hawk,Apache 

   T700-GE-401  1.10  Seahawk, AH-1W, SH-2G  marinized version
   T700-GE-401C 1.20                Seahawk

   T700-GE-T6A  1.30          Italian EH101
   T700-GE-T6E  1.30           Italian NH90

   CT7-2A       1.10             Bell 214ST 
   CT7-2D/2D1   1.10  Commercial Black Hawk
   CT7-6        1.20       Commercial EH101
   CT7-8        1.60                   S-92


   T700-GE-701C SPECS:
   _____________________   _________________   _______________________
   spec                    metric              english
   _____________________   _________________   _______________________

   width                   63.5 centimeters    25 inches
   height                  58.4 centimeters    23 inches
   length                  1.68 meters         5 feet 6 inches
   dry weight              207 kilograms       456 pounds

   power (maximum)         1,409 kW            1,890 SHP
   power (continuous)      1,239 kW            1,662 SHP
   pressure ratio          15
   airflow                 4.5 kg / sec        10 pounds / sec
   psfc (continuous)       77.56 ug / J        0.459 lb / hr-shp
   power / weight ratio    6 kW / kg           3.64 HP / lb

   compressor              5 stage axial + 1 stage centrifugal
   combustor               annular, central fuel injection
   compressor turbine      2 stage
   power turbine           2 stage free turbine drive
   _____________________   _________________   _______________________

* The CT7 turboprop variants use the same core as the turboshaft variants, with a propeller gearbox fitted forward of the core. CT7 turboprops are used on variants of the Swedish SAAB 340 airliner, the Indonesian-Spanish Airtech CN-235 cargolifter, and the Czech Let L-610G airliner, all twin-turboprop aircraft. The baseline CT7-5A provides 1,294 kW (1,735 SHP) on takeoff.


   variant    power                 machine  notes

   CT7-5A       1.00               SAAB 340
   CT7-7A       0.98                 CN-235
   CT7-9B       1.01               SAAB 340
   CT7-9C       1.01          CN-235,L-610G

   _____________________   _________________   _______________________
   spec                    metric              english
   _____________________   _________________   _______________________

   max diameter            73.7 centimeters    29 inches
   length                  2.438 meters        8 feet
   dry weight              349 kilograms       770 pounds

   power (maximum)         1,409 kW            1,890 SHP
   pressure ratio          15
   airflow                 4.5 kg / sec        10 pounds / sec
   power / weight ratio    6 kW / kg           3.64 HP / lb

   compressor              5 stage axial + 1 stage centrifugal
   combustor               annular, central fuel injection
   compressor turbine      2 stage
   power turbine           2 stage free turbine drive
   _____________________   _________________   _______________________

* In the late 1980s, GE also proposed a much larger turboprop, the "T407" or "GLC38", with a five-stage axial / one-stage centrifugal mixed-flow compressor; an annular combustor with 15 burners; a two-stage compressor turbine; a three-stage power turbine; and max takeoff power of 4,475 kW (6,000 SHP).

Although some sources mention that this powerplant was used on some variants of the de Havilland Canada DASH-8 twin-turboprop light airliner, most sources describe the DASH-8 as being fitted with Pratt & Whitney Canada PW100 series turboprops (described later), and any other engine fit appears to have been experimental at best. It does not appear that the T407 / CLC38 ever went into full production.

* PRATT & WHITNEY CANADA PW100 / PW200: Following the outstanding success of the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6 series of turboprops and turboshafts, in 1982 PWC began work on the more powerful "PW100" turboprop engine series, in the 1,500 kW (2,000 SHP) range. The initial "PW120" production variant was certificated in 1983.

The PW120 is a free-turbine turboshaft, with a single-stage LP centrifugal compressor; a single-stage HP centrifugal compressor; an annular reverse-flow combustion chamber with 14 burners; a single-stage aircooled HP turbine; a single-stage LP turbine; and a two-stage power turbine, with shrouded tips. The PW120 features an intake duct with an S-bend and a diversion outlet to guard the engine against dirt and foreign object ingestion. The engine provides a maximum takeoff power of 1,491 kW / 1,566 ekW (2,000 SHP / 2,100 EHP).

PW100 series engines have been used on a range of twin-turboprop airliners and transports, including variants of the de Havilland Canada DASH-8; the Brazilian EMBRAER EMB-120 Brasilia; the German Dornier 328; the French-Italian Aerospatiale-Alenia ATR 42 and ATR 72; the experimental British Aerospace Advanced Technology Program (ATP) aircraft; the experimental Chinese XAC Y7-200A; and the Dutch Fokker 50. It is also used on the Canadair CL-415 twin-engine fire-fighting flying boat and turboprop conversions of the older CL-215.



   variant   max power         aircraft  notes

   PW118          0.90         Brasilia  
   PW118A         0.90         Brasilia  higher temperature rating
   PW119A         1.09      Dornier 328 
   PW120          1.00           ATR 42 
   PW120A         1.00           DASH 8
   PW121          1.07   DASH 8, ATR 42
   PW123          1.19           DASH 8
   PW123AF        1.19           CL 415
   PW123B         1.25           DASH 8
   PW124          1.20
   PW124A         1.20                   higher continuous rating
   PW124B         1.20                   PW123 gearing system
   PW125B         1.34        Fokker 50 
   PW126          1.33              ATP
   PW126A         1.32              ATP
   PW127          1.37           ATR 72
   PW127A         1.25        Fokker 50
   PW127C         1.37          Y7-200A 

   _____________________   _________________   _______________________
   spec                    metric              english
   _____________________   _________________   _______________________

   width                   83.8 centimeters    33 inches
   height                  66 centimeters      26 inches
   length                  2.134 meters        7 feet
   dry weight              417.8 kilograms     921 pounds

   power (takeoff)         1,566 ekW           2,100 EHP
   power (normal)          1,271 ekW           1,704 EHP
   psfc (takeoff)          82 mg / J           0.485 lb / hr-shp
   power / weight ratio    3.75 ekW / kg       2.28 EHP / lb

   LP compressor           1 stage centrifugal
   HP compressor           1 stage centrifugal
   combustor               annular reverse-flow, 14 nozzles
   HP turbine              1 stage
   LP turbine              1 stage
   power turbine           2 stage
   starter system          electrical
   _____________________   _________________   _______________________

* In 1983, PWC also began work on a "PW200" series of turboshafts. The initial "PW206A" was certificated in 1991. It is a free-turbine engine, with a single-stage centrifugal compressor; a reverse-flow annular combustor with 12 nozzles; and single-stage compressor and power turbines. It has a max takeoff power of 476 kW (638 SHP). It features an electronic engine control.

The PW200 has proven popular in the light twin civil helicopter niche, with variants of the PW206 powering versions of the MD Explorer, Italian Agusta A109E, Bell 427, and MBB (now Eurocopter Germany) EC-135 twin-engine helicopters. An improved "PW207" was introduced in the late 1990s. It is used on some MD Explorer variants, and will be used on the Russian Kazan Ansat.



   variant   max power         machine  notes

   PW206A        1.00         Explorer
   PW206B        0.97            EC135  
   PW206B2       1.28            EC135  features PW207A technology
   PW206C        1.00            A109E
   PW206D        1.11         Bell 427  
   PW206E        1.00         Explorer  
   PW207E        1.25         Explorer  
   PW207K        1.25            Ansat  

   PWC PW206A:
   _____________________   _________________   _______________________
   spec                    metric              english
   _____________________   _________________   _______________________

   width                   50 centimeters      19.7 inches
   height                  56.6 centimeters    22.3 inches
   length                  91.2 centimeters    35.9 inches

   power (takeoff)         476 kW              638 SHP
   power (continuous)      410 kW              550 SHP
   pressure ratio          8
   psfc (takeoff)          93.3 ug / J         0.552 lb / hr-shp
   psfc (continuous)       95.3 ug / J         0.564 lb / hr-shp

   compressor              1 stage centrifugal
   combustor               reverse-flow annular, 12 nozzles
   compressor turbine      1 stage
   power turbine           1 stage
   _____________________   _________________   _______________________



[2] SPACE HISTORY: The Fall & Rise Of The Space Race (37)

* MIR OPERATIONS, 1993 & 1994: While the US and Russia worked on plans to build bridges between their space programs, the Mir and shuttle programs continued in parallel.

At the beginning of 1993, the resident crew on the station included cosmonauts Solovyov and Avdeyev. The first manned flight to Mir in 1993 was "Soyuz TM-16", launched on 24 January, with cosmonauts Gennady Manakov and Aleksandr Polischuk. Solovyov and Avdeyev took the older Soyuz TM-15 capsule back to Earth a week later.


   MIR OPERATIONS 1993:1994

   24 JAN 93   Soyuz TM-16 launched (Manakov, Polischuk)
   01 FEB 93   Soyuz TM-15 lands (Solovyov, Avdeyev)
   21 FEB 93     Progress M-16 freighter launched
   27 MAR 93     Progress M-16 freighter reenters
   31 MAR 93     Progress M-17 freighter launched
   22 MAY 93     Progress M-18 freighter launched
   01 JUL 93   Soyuz TM-17 launched (Serebrov, Tsibliyev, Haignere)
   04 JUL 93     Progress M-18 freighter reenters
   22 JUL 93   Soyuz TM-16 lands (Manakov, Polischuk, Haignere)
   11 AUG 93     Progress M-17 freighter undocks (remains in orbit)
   11 AUG 93     Progress M-19 freighter launched 
   12 OCT 93     Progress M-20 freighter launched 
   19 OCT 93     Progress M-19 freighter reenters
   21 NOV 93     Progress M-20 freighter reenters

   08 JAN 94   Soyuz TM-18 launched (Afanasyev, Polyakov, Usachyov)
   14 JAN 94   Soyuz TM-17 lands (Serebrov, Tsibliyev)
   26 JAN 94     Progress M-21 freighter launched
   03 MAR 94     Progress M-17 freighter reenters
   22 MAR 94     Progress M-22 freighter launched
   23 MAR 94     Progress M-21 freighter reenters
   22 MAY 94     Progress M-23 freighter launched
   23 MAR 94     Progress M-22 freighter reenters
   02 JUL 94     Progress M-23 freighter reenters
   01 JUL 94   Soyuz TM-19 launched (Malenchenko, Musabayev) 
   09 JUL 94   Soyuz TM-18 lands (Afanasyev, Usachyov)
   25 AUG 94     Progress M-24 freighter launched
   03 OCT 94   Soyuz TM-20 launched (Kondakova, Viktorenko, Merbold)
   04 OCT 94     Progress M-24 freighter reenters
   04 NOV 94   Soyuz TM-19 lands (Malenchenko, Musabayev, Merbold)
   11 NOV 94     Progress M-25 freighter launched

There was only one more manned flight to Mir in 1993. "Soyuz TM-17" was launched on 1 July 1993, carrying Russian cosmonaut Alexander Serebrov, Ukrainian cosmonaut Vasily Tsibliyev, and spationaut Jean-Pierre Haignere of France / CNES. The previous crew of Manakov and Polischuk returned to Earth with Haignere on Soyuz TM-16 about three weeks later.

There were five Progress freighter flights to the station during 1993, including "Progress TM-16" through "Progress TM-20". Progress TM-20 included a "Raduga VBK" small re-entry capsule to permit return of results from station experiments.

* There were three manned flights to Mir in 1994. "Soyuz TM-18" was launched on 8 January 1994, carrying cosmonauts Viktor Afanasyev, Valery Polyakov MD, and Yuri Usachyov. The new crew replaced Serebrov and Tsibliyev, who went back to Earth on Soyuz TM-17 about a week later.

The second Soyuz flight to Mir in 1994 was "Soyuz TM-19", which was launched on 1 July 1994, carrying cosmonauts Yuri Malenchenko and Talbat Musabayev, a Kazakh. Afanasyev and Usachyov went back to Earth on Soyuz TM-18 about a week later, leaving Dr. Polyakov on the station with the new crew.

There were five Progress freighter flights to Mir in 1994, including "Progress M-21" through "Progress M-25". Progress M-22 performed a reboost of the station and Progress M-23 carried a Raduga VBK reentry capsule. The docking of Progress M-24 was exciting, with the first docking attempt on 28 August failing, and a manual docking attempt the next day resulting in a collision with the station. There was no serious damage, however, and the freighter was successfully docked with the station on 2 September.

The third and last Soyuz flight to Mir was "Soyuz TM-20", launched on 3 October 1994 with cosmonauts Yelena Kondakova (a woman) and Aleksandr Viktorenko, plus ESA astronaut Ulf Merbold of Germany, a veteran of two NASA shuttle missions. Malenchenko and Musabayev returned to Earth on Soyuz TM-19 about a month later, with Dr. Polyakov continuing his stay on Mir with the replacement crew.

* SHUTTLE OPERATIONS, 1993 & 1994: There were a total of 14 shuttle missions in 1993 and 1994:


  mission        orbiter      date / length   primary payload

  STS-54 (53)    Endeavour   13 jan 93 / 6    TDRS-F
  STS-56 (54)    Discovery   08 apr 93 / 9    ATLAS-2, SPARTAN
  STS-55 (55)    Columbia    25 apr 93 / 10   SPACELAB-D2
  STS-57 (56)    Endeavour   21 jun 93 / 10   SPACEHAB-1
  STS-51 (57)    Discovery   12 sep 93 / 10   ACTS, ORFEUS-SPAS
  STS-58 (58)    Columbia*   18 oct 93 / 14   SPACELAB SLS-2
  STS-61 (59)    Endeavour   02 dec 93 / 11   HUBBLE SERVICE 1
  STS-60 (60)    Discovery   03 feb 94 / 8    SPACEHAB-2, WAKE SHIELD
  STS-62 (61)    Columbia*   04 mar 94 / 14   SPACELAB USMP-2
  STS-59 (62)    Endeavour   09 apr 94 / 11   SPACE RADAR LAB 1
  STS-65 (63)    Columbia*   08 jul 94 / 14   SPACELAB IML-2
  STS-64 (64)    Discovery   09 sep 94 / 11   LITE, ROMPS, SPARTAN
  STS-68 (65)    Endeavour   30 sep 94 / 11   SPACE RADAR LAB 2
  STS-66 (66)    Atlantis    03 nov 94 / 11   ATLAS-3, CRISTA-SPAS

  The mission entry gives the mission designation, followed by the
  actual sequence number of the launch in parenthesis.  The length of
  the mission is in days, rounded off to the nearest day.  The "*"
  following any orbiter's name indicates that it was configured as an
  "Extended Duration Orbiter (EDO)".

The shuttle continued to fly with the ESA spacelab, performing four flights with microgravity and life-sciences payloads, and also performed two flights with the new "SpaceHab" module in the payload bay. The SpaceHab was built by SpaceHab INC in the US to support commercial experiments on the shuttle, though in general its manifest would be heavily loaded with NASA experiments. SpaceHab was a pressurized module with an internal volume of 31.2 cubic meters (1,100 cubic feet), Payloads and experiments could be mounted both inside and outside the module.

The shuttle also carried specialized payloads, including two follow-ups to the "Atmospheric Laboratory for Applications and Science (ATLAS)" payload originally flown in 1992, and two flights of the "Shuttle Radar Laboratory (SRL)". The SRL was an instrument suite for environmental observations, and included an air pollution sensing payload plus the "Spaceborne Imaging Radar-C / X-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SIR-C / X-SAR)". SIR-C / X-SAR, a collaboration between NASA and the German and Italian space agencies, could provide all-weather / day-night observing capability and the ability to penetrate vegetation, ice, and very dry sand.

One of the most high-profile flights was Endeavour / STS-61 in December 1993, in which the crew performed a set of five complicated spacewalks to repair the Hubble Space Telescope. The repairs included:

* By this time, the original concept of the shuttle as a space launch booster had pretty much faded out. There were only two launches of large spacecraft from the shuttle in 1993 and 1994, with Endeavour / STS-54 launching the NASA "TDRS-F" geostationary space-support comsat, and Discovery / STS-51 launching the experimental NASA "Advanced Communications Technology Satellite (ACTS)" using the new Orbital Sciences TOS booster. A number of smallsats were deployed as well.

The shuttle did continue to deploy free-fliers, including:

The shuttle also continued to fly international crews, including ESA astronauts from France, Germany, and Switzerland. Most significantly, Discovery / STS-60's crew included Sergei Krikalev of Russia / RKA, the first Russian to participate directly in an American space mission. His presence was to help pave the way for the upcoming shuttle-Mir missions.

* THE SHUTTLE-MIR ERA, 1995 THROUGH 1998: In 1995, the NASA space shuttle began missions to Mir, with a rendezvous flight leading to nine dockings into 1998. The US and Russian space programs had finally joined hands.



   03 FEB 95   Discovery / STS-63 launched (fly-around only)
   16 FEB 95     Progress M-25 freighter reenters
   15 FEB 95     Progress M-26 freighter launched
   14 MAR 95   Soyuz TM-21 launched (Dezhurov, Strekalov, Thagard) 
   15 MAR 95     Progress M-26 freighter reenters
   22 MAR 95   Soyuz TM-20 lands (Kondakova, Viktorenko, Polyakov)
   09 APR 95     Progress M-27 freighter launched
   20 MAY 95   Spektr Mir module launched
   23 MAY 95     Progress M-27 freighter reenters
   27 JUN 95   Atlantis / STS-71 launched (Solovyov, Budarin UP)
   07 JUL 95   Atlantis lands (Dezhurov, Strekalov, Thagard DOWN)
   20 JUL 95     Progress M-28 freighter launched
   03 SEP 95   Soyuz TM-21 launched (Gidzenko, Avdeyev, Reiter)
   04 SEP 95     Progress M-28 freighter reenters
   11 SEP 95   Soyuz TM-20 lands (Solovyov, Budarin)
   08 OCT 95     Progress M-29 freighter launched
   12 NOV 95   Atlantis / STS-74 launched 
   20 NOV 95   Atlantis lands
   18 DEC 95     Progress M-30 freighter launched
   19 DEC 95     Progress M-29 freighter reenters

   21 FEB 96   Soyuz TM-23 launched (Onufrienko, Usachyov)
   22 FEB 96     Progress M-30 freighter reenters
   29 FEB 96   Soyuz TM-22 lands (Gidzenko, Avdeyev, Reiter)
   22 MAR 96   Atlantis / STS-76 launched (Lucid UP)
   31 MAR 96   Atlantis lands
   05 MAY 96     Progress M-31 freighter launched
   23 APR 96   Priroda Mir module launched
   31 JUL 96     Progress M-32 freighter launched
   01 AUG 96     Progress M-31 freighter reenters
   17 AUG 96   Soyuz TM-24 launched (Korzun, Kaleri, Andre-Deshays)
   02 SEP 96   Soyuz TM-23 lands (Onufrienko, Usachyov, Andre-Deshays)
   16 SEP 96   Atlantis / STS-79 launched (Blaha UP)
   26 SEP 96   Atlantis lands (Lucid DOWN)
   19 NOV 96     Progress M-33 freighter launched
   20 NOV 96     Progress M-32 freighter reenters

   12 JAN 97   Atlantis / STS-81 launched (Linenger UP)
   22 JAN 97   Atlantis lands (Blaha DOWN)
   06 FEB 97     Progress M-33 freighter undocks
   10 FEB 97   Soyuz TM-25 launched (Tsibliyev, Lazutkin, Ewald)
   02 MAR 97   Soyuz TM-24 lands (Korzun, Kaleri, Ewald)
   12 MAR 97     Progress M-33 freighter reenters
   06 APR 97     Progress M-34 freighter launched
   15 MAY 97   Atlantis / STS-84 launched (Foale UP)
   24 MAY 97   Atlantis lands (Linenger DOWN)
   02 JUL 97     Progress M-34 freighter reenters
   05 JUL 97     Progress M-35 freighter launched
   05 AUG 97   Soyuz TM-26 launched (Solovyov, Vinogradov)
   14 AUG 97   Soyuz TM-25 lands (Tsibliyev, Lazutkin)
   26 SEP 97   Atlantis / STS-86 launched (Wolf UP)
   06 OCT 97   Atlantis lands (Foale DOWN)
   05 OCT 97     Progress M-36 freighter launched
   07 OCT 97     Progress M-35 freighter reenters
   17 DEC 97     Progress M-36 freighter reenters
   20 DEC 97     Progress M-37 freighter launched

   23 JAN 98   Endeavour / STS-89 launched (Thomas UP)
   29 JAN 98   Soyuz TM-27 launched (Musabayev, Budarin, Eyharts)
   31 JAN 98   Endeavour lands (Wolf DOWN)
   19 FEB 98   Soyuz TM-26 lands (Solovyov, Vinogradov, Eyharts)
   14 MAR 98     Progress M-38 freighter launched
   15 MAR 98     Progress M-37 freighter reenters
   14 MAY 98     Progress M-39 freighter launched
   15 MAY 98     Progress M-38 freighter reenters
   02 JUN 98   Discovery / STS-91 launched, final docking
   12 JUN 98   Discovery lands (Thomas DOWN)
   12 AUG 98     Progress M-39 freighter undocks
   13 AUG 98   Soyuz TM-28 launched (Padalka, Avdeyev, Baturin)
   25 AUG 98   Soyuz TM-27 lands (Musabayev, Budarin, Baturin)
   25 OCT 98     Progress M-40 freighter launched
   29 OCT 98     Progress M-39 freighter reenters

Kondakova, Viktorenko, and Polyakov were the Mir resident crew at the beginning of 1995. They were there to greet Discovery on flight STS-63 in early February, when the shuttle performed a rendezvous and fly-around of the station, though docking or crew transfer was performed. This shuttle-Mir mission was partly symbolic, but was also intended to validate rendezvous procedures.

The first Soyuz flight to Mir in 1995 was "Soyuz TM-21", which was launched on 14 March with a crew of cosmonauts Vladimir Dezhurov and Gennady Strekalov, plus NASA astronaut Norman Thagard MD, a shuttle veteran. Thagard was the first American astronaut to be launched into space on a Soviet-Russian spacecraft. He would also be the only American astronaut launched to Mir on a Soyuz. Kondakova, Viktorenko, and Polyakov returned to earth on the older Soyuz TM-20 capsule on 22 March. Polyakov had spent almost 438 continuous days in space, setting a space endurance record that still stands.

Soyuz TM-21 was followed on 20 May 1995 by the launch by a Proton booster of a Mir expansion module named "Spektr (Spectrum)". It was similar in configuration to the earlier Kristall module, both being derived from the TKS Heavy Cosmos series, and had a launch mass of almost 20 tonnes (22 tons).

Spektr was intended to perform Earth surface and atmospheric observations, and also carried four solar panels that doubled Mir's power generating capacity. It had been originally designed as a military module to test sensors and weapons for the Soviet equivalent of the US "Star Wars" ballistic missile defense system, but the collapse of the USSR put it on ice. With NASA funding, the Russians were able to restart work, redefining the module and fitting it with a lidar, spectrometers, radiometers, and photometers for remote sensing. It would also be used as living quarters by visiting NASA astronauts.

Atlantis performed the first docking of the shuttle with Mir on STS-71 in late June 1995, which incidentally was the 100th American manned space flight. The shuttle carried a docking adapter in the payload bay to link up with the station, and it also performed a crew transfer, delivering Anatoly Solovyov and Nikolai Budarin and taking Dezhurov, Strekalov, and Thagard back down to Earth. This was the only one of nine shuttle-Mir flights that brought a replacement Russian crew to the station.

The shuttle delivered supplies to the station and remained docked for several days, with the joint crew performing a sequence of experiments. This same pattern would take place on all the following shuttle-Mir missions.

The second Soyuz launch of 1995, "Soyuz TM-22", was on 3 September 1995, carrying cosmonauts Yuriy Gidzenko and Sergei Avdeyev, plus ESA astronaut Thomas Reiter of Germany. They relieved Solovyov and Budarin, who returned to Earth on the older Soyuz TM-21 capsule on 11 September. The second shuttle-Mir docking took place on 15 November, with Atlantis delivering supplies, including two new solar arrays and a new Russian-built docking module for the station.

Mir was supported by five Progress freighter launches through 1995, including "Progress M-26" through "Progress M-30". Progress M-27's payload included the German "GFZ-1" smallsat, a geodetic studies satellite that was fitted with laser retroreflectors for ground tracking. It was released on 19 April.

* The first manned mission to Mir in 1996 was "Soyuz TM-23", launched on 21 February with cosmonauts Yuri Onufrienko and Yuri Usachyov. They relieved Gidzenko, Andeyev, and Reiter, who returned to Earth on the older Soyuz TM-22 capsule on 29 February.

Onufrienko and Usachyov got company when Atlantis linked up with the station in late March on the third shuttle-Mir docking, bringing up supplies in a SpaceHab module and dropping off astronaut Shannon Lucid for a stay on the station.

A month later, on 23 April, a Proton booster launched the final Mir component, a remote sensing module named "Priroda (Nature)". Priroda began life in the early 1980s as a module, part of the TKS Heavy Cosmos series, that would perform both civil and military Earth observations. In 1985, the project was redefined somewhat to accommodate international payloads that were to be launched on Intercosmos satellites. The collapse of the USSR meant that Priroda ended up in storage, until it was rescued by the 1993 US-Russian space agreement.

The US provided both funding and some instruments for the module, which was redefined as a purely civil observation system. Priroda had a length of 13 meters (42 feet 8 inches), a maximum diameter of 4.35 meters (14 feet 4 inches), and a weight of 19,000 kilograms (41,900 pounds). Its payload included radiometers, a spectroradiometer, spectrometers, a lidar for cloud height measurements, a synthetic aperture radar, an optical scanner, and other gear such as materials-processing experimental systems.

Things went quiet until "Soyuz TM-24" was launched on 17 August, carrying cosmonauts Valery Korzun and Aleksandr Kaleri plus spationaut Claudie Andre-Deshays of France / CNES to the station. Andre-Deshays was the first Frenchwoman in space. Onufrienko, Usachyov, and Andre-Deshays returned to earth on the older Soyuz TM-23 capsule on 2 September, leaving Lucid on board the station with the new crew.

They quickly got company when Atlantis was launched on mission STS-79 on 16 September 1996 to perform the fourth shuttle-Mir docking. Atlantis delivered a double-size SpaceHab module full of supplies for the station, as well as astronaut John Blaha, with Shannon Lucid returning to Earth on Atlantis on 26 September. Lucid had spent 188 continuous days in space, a record for an American astronaut and a woman astronaut, though not any big deal by Russian standards.

There were three Progress launches to the station in 1996, including "Progress M-31" through "Progress M-33".

* Shuttle-Mir operations were comfortably routine in 1995 and 1996, but 1997 would introduce a sharp degree of unpredictability. The first manned flight of the year took place on 12 January, when Atlantis was launched on STS-81 to perform the fifth shuttle-Mir docking. The shuttle carried a spacehab double module full of supplies, dropped off astronaut Jerry Linenger, and picked up John Blaha.

The first Soyuz mission to Mir in 1997 was "Soyuz TM-25", launched on 10 February 1997, carrying Vasily Tsibliyev and Aleksandr Lazutkin, plus ESA astronaut Reinhold Ewald of Germany. They relieved Korzun and Kaleri, who returned to Earth with Ewald on the older Soyuz TM-24 capsule on 2 March.

Before they left, there was some real excitement on the station when a fire broke out, caused by a leak in an oxygen canister that led to a chemical reaction. It was no mere trashbasket fire. It filled the station with smoke, forced the crew to put on respirators, and resisted all attempts to extinguish it until it burned itself out after about 14 minutes. Jerry Linenger later said that his first instinct had been to open up a window to let the smoke out, and he got a little anxious when he realized that wasn't possible.

After it was all over, Jerry Linenger was startled when the Russians described the fire he had witnessed as not much different from a lit cigarette. Everyone was unharmed, what was there to fuss about? The truth was that the Russians were determined to keep the station going, no matter what. Linenger said that systems were always breaking down, and even Lazutkin described his attitude in his dealings with the oxygen generating system as that of a tiger trainer versus a tiger. The climate control system suffered a malfunction that kept the environment stuffy hot for a month, and the toilet broke down at about the same time. Of course fixing the toilet took priority.

There was also a close call with the docking system. The Russians could no longer afford to obtain the automatic docking system from the Ukraine, so they decided to use a simplified manual system for Progress dockings. In principle, it sounded workable: A laser rangefinder would give speed and range as the Progress approached, and then a cosmonaut on board the station would use imagery relayed from a TV camera on the freighter to perform the docking.

Tsibliyev was ordered to undock Progress M-33 and use it to test the manual docking system. However, the camera on board the freighter failed, and Lazutkin and Linenger had to jump from porthole to porthole to tell Tsibliyev where the capsule was. In any case, the test failed and the Progress was sent back to Earth. There was no way NASA would have even seriously considered, let alone authorized, such an exercise unless it had been an extreme emergency. Tsibliyev complained to his own ground controllers, calling it "a terrible operation", and both cosmonauts were highly supportive when Linenger privately suggested that he complain about it through NASA channels.

* Atlantis was launched on 15 May 1997 on STS-84 to perform the sixth shuttle-Mir docking, delivering supplies in a double SpaceHab module, picking up Jerry Linenger, and dropping off Michael Foale. This shuttle flight also included cosmonaut Yelena Kondakova of Russia / RKA and Jean-Francois Clervoy of France / CNES.

Michael Foale was excited when he arrived on Mir to relieve Linenger, but got a quick adjustment to reality when Linenger showed him around and pointed out the fire damage, describing the fire in detail. When Linenger left, he described his feelings as "pure joy".

Foale liked his Russian colleagues, but found them annoying at times because they had a certain belief, not without historical basis, that Russians were much more used to pain and suffering than Americans and Westerners in general, who were seen as soft. They would go out of their way to be protective of Foale, which he found as patronizing rather than reassuring.

Progress M-34 had docked with the station on 8 April, delivering kit for the station's oxygen-supply system plus two new spacesuits, and giving the station an orbital boost on 15 April. Progress M-34 was undocked on 24 June 1997 to perform another test of the manual docking system.

The complaints about the first manual docking attempt had not really had much effect. During this exercise, the video camera on the Progress worked, but ground controllers ordered that the radar in the station's docking system be turned off, believing it had led to the failure of the camera in the previous attempt. The laser rangefinder had to be precisely targeted, and until the freighter got close enough Tsibliyev had to eyeball speed and range.

This would have been tricky even if Tsibliyev had been experienced in the exercise, but it wasn't something anybody had ever done in practice. He fumbled the docking and the Progress collided with a solar array on the Spektr module and then the Spektr module itself, breaching its hull. The station began to rapidly decompress.

The Russians told Foale to get in the Soyuz, but he stayed behind to help, bundling up cables as the two cosmonauts cut them out of the hatch to the Spektr module. Even when the crew got the hatch closed, the collision had put the station into a slow tumble, misaligning the solar panels with the Sun and quickly cutting off power. All systems were shut down, turning the station into a creepy tomb. The crew managed to get the station aligned again and brought systems back up over the next few hours.

Tsibliyev was distraught, telling Foale that his career was over. In fact, once everything was more or less back on an even keel again, finger-pointing began, with the first conclusion being that the accident had been due to human error, meaning Tsibliyev's incompetence. However, eight cosmonauts performed simulations back on the ground and only one got it right, and he had not followed instructions to the letter.

In the meantime, problems continued, with oxygen system failures, plus a computer system malfunction that put the station into a tumble again. It was impossible to keep the problems quiet, and US Congressmen began to ask if American cooperation with the Mir program was safe or made any sense.

* "Soyuz TM-26" was launched on 5 August 1997, carrying cosmonauts Anatoly Solovyov and Pavel Vinogradov to the station, who spent their stint in orbit working to get the station back in more or less proper working order again. They managed to get half of the Spektr's solar arrays operational, but the Spektr module was never pressurized again. Tsibliyev and Lazutkin returned to Earth on the older Soyuz TM-25 capsule on 14 August. Neither ever flew in space again.

Michael Foale managed to get back to Earth after his hair-raising stint in orbit with the launch of Columbia on 26 September on STS-86 to perform the seventh shuttle-Mir docking. It carried a double SpaceHab module full of supplies, picked up Foale, and dropped off David Wolf. The shuttle flight also included Vladimir Titov of Russia / RKA (no relation to Gherman Titov), and Jean-Loup Chretien of France / CNES. Foale was as glad to get back to Earth as Linenger, comparing his stint on Mir to "a very dirty and grimy camping trip in an old car."

There were four Progress freighter launches to Mir in 1997, including "Progress M-34" through "Progress M-37". Progress M-36 carried two smallsats that were deployed from Mir. The first was "Sputnik-40", a subscale model of Sputnik 1, built by Russian radio amateur and space enthusiasts. It was deployed by hand during a spacewalk on 10 November 1997. The second was the German "X-Mir Inspector", a test prototype of space station inspection vehicle, basically a hexagonal cylinder containing a camera, plus propulsion, power, and control systems. It performed limited observations on 17 December but broke down and was abandoned.

* In 1998, NASA drew down Mir operations in order to focus on International Space Staton assembly. Endeavour was launched on STS-89 on 23 January to perform the eighth shuttle-Mir docking, unloading supplies from a double SpaceHab module, dropping off Andrew Thomas, and picking up David Wolf. The shuttle crew also included Salizhan Sharipov of Russia / RKA.

The departure of Endeavour was immediately followed by the arrival of "Soyuz TM-27", which was launched on 29 January with cosmonauts Musa Musabayev, Nikolai Budarin, and spationaut Leopold Eyharts of CNES / France. The Russians and Americans wanted to dock Soyuz TM-27 while the shuttle was still present, in order to set a space record of 13 starfarers on a single space complex. The French vetoed the idea, claiming the commotion would disrupt their experiments. In any case, Solovyov, Vinogradov, and Eyharts returned to Earth on the older Soyuz TM-26 capsule on 19 February.

Discovery was launched on STS-91, the ninth and last shuttle-Mir docking on 2 June 1998, taking a double SpaceHab module full of supplies to the station and picking up Andrew Thomas. The shuttle crew also included Valery Ryumin of Russia / RKA, a Salyut 7 veteran who was the director of the Russian half of the Russian-American space station effort and was on something of an inspection trip.

There was only one further manned launch to Mir in 1998, with "Soyuz TM-28" launched to the station on 13 August, carrying cosmonauts Gennady Padalka, Sergei Avdeyev, and Yuri Baturin. Musabayev, Budarin, and Baturin returned to Earth on the older Soyuz TM-27 on 25 August 1998.

There were three Progress launches to the station in 1996, including "Progress M-38" through "Progress M-40". Progress M-38 was a special modification, carrying a station propulsion unit in place of the usual refueling tank. Progress M-40 carried the "Znamya-2.5" folding solar mirror, a follow-up on the "Znamya-2" mirror carried by Progress M-15 to Mir in 1992.

Znamya-2.5 was to unfold from the nose of Progress M-40 and would shine sunlight on various Siberian towns, following up an idea proposed by Konstantin Tsiolkovsky long before. The test was opposed by astronomers, who feared it would interfere with their observations, and environmentalists. Progress M-40 undocked on 4 February and tried to deploy the mirror, but several attempts failed and the test was abandoned. The spacecraft reentered the atmosphere the next day.

Progress M-40 also carried a small amateur satellite, "Sputnik 41", a subscale model of the first Earth satellite, Sputnik 1. Sputnik 41 was built by a collaboration of French and Russian radio and space enthusiasts and carried a small transmitter. It was deployed during a spacewalk on 10 November.

* The idea that the American and Russian space programs could have been so thoroughly interlinked as they were on the shuttle-Mir flights would have seemed completely unbelievable in the 1960s. There was, however, the question of how much the effort had actually been accomplished. NASA officially insisted that the flights had been valuable experience for operations with the International Space Station.

This claim had some credibility, since the shuttle-Mir flights had familiarized NASA with the logistics of space station operations, no doubt a much more complicated matter than an outside observer would suspect. NASA hadn't done such things since Skylab, which had been two decades ago and hadn't been resuppliable. The Russians, in contrast, had great experience in long-term station operations. The experience also gave NASA some sharp lessons in how the Russians did things.

Still, there was the whole question of what the point of the station effort was in the first place. By the time of the end of the shuttle-Mir flights, Mir was so decrepit that the crew spent the bulk of their time keeping the thing working, and it was another question whether most of the research done on Mir couldn't have been done more cheaply and just as effectively on unmanned platforms. While the ISS promised to be technically far superior to Mir, the question of utility would remain.



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