Soyuz TM-29 docked with Mir on February 22 at 05:36 GMT. Since two crew seats had been sold (to Slovakia and France), Afansyev was the only Russian cosmonaut aboard. This meant that Russian engineer Avdeyev already aboard Mir would have to accept a double-length assignment. After the February 27 departure of EO-26 crew commander Padalka and Slovak cosmonaut Bella aboard Soyuz TM-28, the new EO-27 Mir crew consisted of Afanasyev as Commander, Avdeyev as Engineer and French cosmonaut Haignere. Follwoing an extended mission and three space walks, the last operational crew aboard Mir prepared to return. The station was powered down and prepared for free drift mode. The hatch between Mir and Soyuz was closed for the last time at 18:12 GMT on August 27, 1999. Soyuz TM-29 undocked from Mir at 21:17 GMT with Afanasyev, Avdeyev and Haignere aboard. The Mir EO-27 crew landed in Kazakhstan at 00:35 GMT on August 28. Afanasyev had set a new cumulative time in space record, but for the first time since September 1989 there were no humans in space. The only crew that might return to Mir would be one to deorbit it, and beyond that budgets indicated that no more than one Soyuz crew per year could be sent to the International Space Station.