Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Mir Lives Up to Name With Peaceful Descent.(Editorial Page)


Russia is justifiably proud that the downing of its space station Mir went perfectly, plunging as it did within an ocean target area hundreds of miles from land. The world is relieved.

Whether Mir would descend safely had concerned Australia and New Zealand enough to put civil defense groups on alert; Japanese held their collective breaths as the station passed over just an hour before hitting the South Pacific. Mir was, at 143 tons, by far the heaviest spacecraft ever dumped, and its size and shape made re-entry hard to predict.

But an intricate series of engine firings, meant to ensure no populated areas would be hit, went as planned. Spectators on the islands of Fiji said the station's demise was spectacular four white fireballs streaked across the sky with a swarm of smaller debris in their wake a fitting end to what had been the Russian space program's glory. …

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