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Orbital shift is a Mir hiccup

发布时间:2019-03-08 09:19:04来源:未知点击:

By Charles Seife in Washington DC A RUSSIAN module called Zarya, the first component of the International Space Station (ISS), is scheduled to shoot into orbit this week from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. But NASA officials are bemused by a late request from the Russian Space Agency to change the station’s orbit. Although the request was quickly withdrawn, analysts believe it signals Russia’s reluctance to abandon the ageing Mir station, which could compete for resources needed for the ISS. The request was for this week’s launch to be delayed by 10 hours so that the eventual orbit of the ISS would be in the same plane as that of Mir, allowing supplies to be moved from one to the other. Just days later, the Russians changed their minds after talks with NASA officials. Moscow’s official plan is to “de-orbit” Mir in July, but this is opposed by many Russian politicians. This month, Mikhail Sinelshchikov, chief of the Russian Space Agency’s human spaceflight department, told the Tass news agency that he wants to extend Mir’s mission. This would cause headaches for the ISS. Russia admits it is unable to deliver all the rocket launches it has promised for the project. The shortage will get worse if rockets are used to supply Mir. “In our experience, Mir competes for very critical resources,” says Randy Brinkley,