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Russia: U.S. Congress Questions Mir's Safety

Washington, 18 September 1997 (RFE/RL) - The U.S. House of Representatives Science and Technology Committee plans to ask U.S. space agency officials today whether problems on the Russian Mir space station make it too risky for continued U.S. participation.

The committee will question National Aeronautics and Space Administration inspector general Roberta Gross, who recently prepared a report for the committee that was critical of Mir.

Gross wrote that the recent collision and fire aboard Mir were just some of the "serious problems associated with the Russians' aging space station which pose risks to the Mir crew."

The U.S. space shuttle Atlantis is scheduled to transport another U.S. astronaut to Mir next week to take over for an American who has been on Mir since May.

The U.S. has been paying the Russian space program 473 million dollars to allow U.S. astronauts to live aboard Mir.