“Mir outlived not only the original manufacturer’s warranty but also its
parent state, the USSR, by almost 10 years,” said Roald Sagdeev, former
director of the Russian Academy of Science’s Institute for Space Research
in an article in the March/April, 2001 issue of “The Planetary Report,” the
magazine for The Planetary Society’s 100,000 members.

“In 1991 and 1992, cosmonauts were launched to Mir from the Soviet Union
but they returned to a “different” country: Russia,” Sagdeev added. “They
discovered that the theory of relativity controls the clocks of history:
these move faster on Earth than in space.”

Russia plans to bring the Mir spacecraft down in a controlled de-oribt burn
this week, dropping the aging station to a final resting place, hopefully
somewhere in the South Pacific.

Sagdeev, who currently serves as a Distinguished Professor of Physics at
the University of Maryland, is the Director Emeritus of the Russian Academy
of Sciences’ Space Research Institute, and is a member of The Planetary
Society’s Board of Directors.

In his “Mir Station Obituary,” Sagdeev recalls not only the space station’s
ground breaking historic accomplishments, but also its role as a bridge
between long time Cold War rivals in space — Russia and the United States.

In fact, many people remember Mir best from its final years in operation
when NASA shuttles docked there on a regular basis, and Russian/American
crews worked harmoniously together in Mir for months at a time.

Academician Sagdeev also discusses some of the controversy about Mir, and
the tension between proponents of human flight and the science community in
the Soviet Union during the 1970s and 80s.

“Farewell to a Cold Warrior: Mir Station Obituary” can be accessed on The
Planetary Society’s website at http://planetary.org or call the Society at
800-9WORLDS to receive a free copy of “The Planetary Report.”



For more information or a copy of “The Planetary Report,” contact Susan
Lendroth at (626) 793-5100 ext 237 or by e-mail at


Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray and Louis Friedman founded The Planetary Society
in 1980 to advance the exploration of the solar system and to continue the
search for extraterrestrial life. With 100,000 members in over 140
countries, the Society is the largest space interest group in the world.