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Russia: Mir Oxygen Problem More Serious Than Thought

Moscow, 7 August 1997 (RFE/RL) -- Russian mission control said today that problems with the oxygen generator on board the Mir space station are more serious than earlier thought.

Itar-Tass quotes deputy flight director Viktor Blagov as saying the two cosmonauts due to arrive on board the Mir later today do not have the necessary equipment to fix the generator. He said that preparations are being made for the U.S. space shuttle Atlantis to bring the necessary equipment to the Mir during its September space flight. Blagov said the Mir's crew will not be endangered in the meantime.

Cosmonauts Anatoly Solovyov and Pavel Vinogradov are expected to arrive on board the Mir later today to replace two of the station's current crew. They will conduct a risky spacewalk to repair damage caused by a collision with a cargo craft in June. Mir has been operating on reduced power ever since. Russian space officials say the current crew is too fatigued and lacks the necessary training to carry out the maneuver.