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Space: U.S. Astronaut Describes Mir's Rough Conditions

Cape Canaveral, Florida; 13 June 1997 (RFE/RL) - An American astronaut says conditions aboard Mir are so rough that it is difficult to conduct scientific experiments aboard the orbiting space station.

Jerry Linenger spoke to Reuters news agency yesterday in one of his first interviews since returning to earth last month after a four-month mission on Mir.

Linenger's stay was marked by a fire to an oxygen generator, a near collision with an unmanned spacecraft, and numerous mechanical breakdowns that required the crew's attention.

Linenger said that he frequently felt as though the crew was spending all its time trying to stay alive. He said he was often forced to work into the night to night to conduct the scientific experiments he was sent to Mir to perform.

Earlier this week, Mir's crew located a leak in the space station's cooling system and began work to repair it. The 11-year-old Mir was originally designed to last only five years.