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Russia: Mir Repairs Delayed Until Next Crew Arrives

Korolyov, Russia; 21 July 1997 (RFE/RL) -- Russian space officials decided today to delay repairs to the damaged Mir space station until a new crew arrives on board next month.

Deputy Flight Controller Igor Goncharov announced the decision after a meeting of top officials this morning at mission control near Moscow. Goncharov said the decision was taken because scientists felt the current crew had already been under "much pressure in extreme situations" and would therefore not be fit to undertake the risky operation.

The space station was damaged last month during a collision with an unmanned cargo ship and has operated on limited power ever since.

The Mir's next crew will consist of Russian cosmonauts Anatoly Solovyov and Pavel Vinogradov. French astronaut Leopold Eyharts, who was scheduled to go up with them, will stay behind on Earth. Officials said his planned scientific experiments will have to wait until full power can be restored to Mir.