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Mir's endgame confirmed
Posted: Fri, Jan 5, 2001, 10:45 PM ET (0345 GMT)
Russia is moving forward with plans to deorbit the Mir space station next month. Russian media reported Friday that Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov signed a decree late last month confirming plans to bring down the station into an uninhabited region of the Pacific Ocean in late February. An unpiloted Progress spacecraft will be launched from Baikonur January 18 -- two days later than planned because of "technical reasons", according to AFP -- and dock with the station to help deorbit it. No crews will be sent to aid in the descent unless problems develop with the Progress spacecraft, according to Russian officials. The deorbiting means American millionaire Dennis Tito will not visit the station as the first commercial space tourist, but Russian officials say Tito, who has paid the full $20 million cost of the original Mir mission, will fly to the ISS instead in April on a mission to replace the Soyuz spacecraft docked there.
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