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Russia: Mir Repairs Delayed For Up To Ten Days

Moscow, 15 July 1997 (RFE/RL) - The Russian mission control head said today that vital repairs on the Mir space station will be delayed for up to ten days due to Mir commander Vasily Tsibliyev's health problems.

Vladimir Solovyev said that during that time doctors will check to determine if Tsibliyev has overcome his problems. Solovyev also said that Russia is considering asking the U.S. space agency, NASA to allow Michael Foale, the U.S. astronaut aboard Mir, to take part in the repairs if Tsibliyev is not well enough.

The vital repairs, due to be carried out by Tsibliyev in a space walk, were made necessary after an unmanned cargo ship collided with Mir last month. The repairs were originally planned for later this week.

Yesterday Tsibliyev complained of heart irregularities and fatigue and this forced a postponement of a practice repair session today.

A U.S. space agency representative at the Russian mission control told Reuters that the delay to the Mir repairs could also delay launch of a Russian spacecraft with a relief crew which was due to blast off for Mir on August 5.

A NASA representative later said Russian mission controllers had asked that a U.S. astronaut on board the Mir space station be prepared to carry out the vital repairs in place of Tsibliyev.

Philip Engelauf told reporters that astronaut Michael Foale had been fully trained for the repair mission and could do it if it is necessary.