Moscow, 4 July 1997 (RFE/RL) -- Russian space officials said today that crucial repairs on the damaged Mir space station have been put off until July 17 or 18, a week later than originally planned.
Vera Medvedkova, a spokeswoman at Russia's Mission Control, said the three-man crew needs more time to practice with repair equipment that is being sent to Mir on a cargo ship. A new "Progress" cargo ship is to be launched tomorrow from Kazakhstan and is expected to dock with the Mir on Monday.
Meanwhile, the Russian-U.S. crew on Mir has been working today to repair the gyroscopes that orient the spacecraft toward the sun. That system shut down yesterday for the second time since the station collided with an unmanned cargo ship last week.
The crew has been forced to use fuel-burning thruster rockets to maintain the station's position. Mir's available power has been reduced significantly since last week's collision, which damaged solar panels and forced closure of one punctured module.