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Russia: Vital Repairs On Mir Postponed Again

Moscow, 18 July 1997 (RFE/RL) - A Russian mission control official said today that crucial repairs on the Mir space station might be put off until a replacement crew arrives on board the station next month.

Mission control chief Vladimir Solovyov told reporters a final decision on the repairs -- originally planned next Thursday -- would probably be made next week. The repair work includes reconnecting cables to a damaged Mir module.

Solovyov also said that there could be personnel changes in the next crew, due to leave for Mir on August 5. A Frenchman, Leopold Eyharts, due to accompany two Russian cosmonauts to the space station, may now be left behind. Eyharts was to conduct scientific experiments on board.

In Paris, the head of the National Centre of Space Studies, said today that the Franco-Russian mission to Mir could be pushed back to the beginning of next year.

Gerard Brachet said however that a final decision will be taken over the weekend or early next week.

Today all systems aboard Mir were working well after an almost complete power supply failure yesterday led to a breakdown in the stations' computer system. The latest Mir energy crisis was triggered when a crewmember inadvertently disconnected a vital cable.