Mir Expedition EO-23. Soyuz TM-25 docked with Mir at the forward port on February 12 at 15:51:13 GMT.
Following a mission that seemed to consist of an endless series of collisions, breakdowns, fires, and other emergencies, the EO-23 handed over the station and on August 14 entered Soyuz TM-25 landed in Kazakstan at 12:17 UTC, 170 km SE of Dzezkazgan. The Soyuz landing rockets failed to fire on touchdown, giving one of the roughest landings experienced by a returning Mir crew.
RKK Energiya's 7K-STM spacecraft No. 74 was launched as Soyuz TM-25. On Feb 11 the orbit was 262 x 311 km x 51.65 deg, while Mir was in a 378 x 394 km x 51.65 deg orbit. The Soyuz carried the EO-23 Mir crew together with German astronaut Reinhold Ewald. After several rendezvous burns, the Soyuz docked with Mir at the -X port on Feb 12 at 15:51:13 GMT. The subsequent disaster-filled six month mission included on-board fires, power losses, oxygen system problems, thermal control problems, station control system failures, cabin depressurizations, and the collision of the Progress 24 with the station.
The EO-23 crew’s problems began on Feb 23 at 19:35 GMT when a fire broke out in a lithium perchlorate cartridge in the Kvant module used to generate extra oxygen on Mir. The fire lasted 14 minutes and metre-long flames of burning lithium perchlorate in the Kvant module blocked the way to one of the two Soyuz spaceships. EO-22 crew members Korzun and Kaleri used extinguishers to fight the fire; the crew wore gas masks for two and a half hours afterwards due to the heavy smoke in the station. This was followed in March by continuous problems with the various oxygen-generating, station control, and thermal control systems.
The carbon dioxide removal system failed on April 3. The Progress M-34 supply ship brought much-needed repair equipment for the oxygen systems in the second week of April. Vasiliy Tsibliev and visiting American astronaut Jerry Linenger donned Orlan-DM spacesuits and made a 4h 57m spacewalk on April 29. They left the airlock at 05:10 GMT and returned to Kvant-2 at 10:08 GMT. The astronauts retrieved some sample collection experiments from the outside of the complex. Flight engineer Aleksandr Lazutkin remained inside the Mir complex.
The robot cargo ship Progress M-34 undocked from Mir at 1022 GMT on June 24 to perform a redocking test using recently developed remote-control procedures which are replacing the old automatic systems that Russia can no longer afford to buy from Ukraine. At 09:10 GMT on June 25, Mir commander Tsibliev was remotely commanding the approach of Progress to the Kvant (37KE) module when the Progress went off course and collided with a solar array on the Spektr module and then the module itself. A large hole was made in the solar panel, and one of Spektr's radiators was badly buckled. A small breach in Spektr's hull appears to have been made and the module began to depressurize. This was not a slow leak - the crew heard a hissing sound and felt their ears pop. They closed the hatch on the core module transfer section that leads to Spektr by 09:38 GMT. The Spektr module was thereafter fully depressurized. It remains docked to Mir with its docking hatch open. The electrical connection between Spektr's solar panels and the main station was broken off, also cutting off the power supply from the solar panels on the Kristall module. Tsibliev was also driving on the only previous documented orbital fender-bender, when he banged Soyuz TM-17 into Mir in January 1994.
Mir lost power and attitude control on July 16 when a cable was accidentally disconnected, but the crew were able to use the Soyuz to reorient the station and restore the situation. The spacewalk to reconnect the Spektr power cables was delayed until the next Soyuz launch. This was reoriented to concentrate on repairing the station and getting it back into operation. Researcher Leopold Eyharts of France's CNES was bumped from the crew and rescheduled for a 1998 flight. The EO-23 handed over the station and on August 14 entered their Soyuz TM-25 transport ship, closing the hatches at 05:50 GMT. Soyuz TM-25 undocked from the Mir forward port on August 14 at 08:55 GMT and at 11:22 GMT fired the deorbit engine on the PAO (priborno-agregatniy otsek, equipment-service module). The PAO and the BO (bitovoy otsek, living module) separated from the SA (spuskaemiy apparat, descent craft) a few minutes later. The PAO and BO burned up in the atmosphere. The SA reentered, and landed in Kazakhstan at 12:17 GMT, 170 km SE of Dzhezkazgan. The Soyuz landing rockets failed to fire on touchdown, giving one of the roughest landings experienced by a returning Mir crew. References: 4 , 9 , 51 , 276 .