The Russian parliament has appealed to President Boris Yeltsin to prevent the premature de-orbiting of the Mir space station next June, until construction of the International Space Station (ISS) has been completed.

The termination of the Mir may result in the loss of 100,000 jobs, parliament says. Yuri Baturin, a former presidential aide who flew to the Mir in August, says that the Russian space base should be kept in orbit for another two years. He says that it needs only preventative maintenance to keep it in service .

The director of the Russian Space Agency, Yuri Koptev, meanwhile, reconfirms his view that the Mir should be de-orbited as planned, and all resources put into Russia's obligations to the ISS. Running both programmes would break the budget, he says.

The final ILS Proton K commercial launch this year will take place on 3 November, carrying the PanAmSat 8 satellite. A non-ILS Proton launch scheduled for December, carrying a Russian Raduga communications satellite into orbit, will be a test flight of the new Breeze M upper stage.

Source: Flight International