Tim Furniss/LONDON

The Russian Soyuz TM26 spacecraft docked with the Mir 1 on 7 August in the Ìrst phase of a mission to restore electrical power to the space station. The TM26 was launched on 5 August, the 200th manned spaceflight.

The Soyuz spacecraft, commanded by Mir veteran Anatoli Solovyov, docked manually with the space station. Solovyov and ßight engineer Pavel Vinogradov then joined resident crew, Vasily Tsiblyev, Alexander Lazutkin and Michael Foale.

An immediate task will be to attempt to bring a second Elektron oxygen generator unit on line after the prime equipment breakdown. Tsiblyev and Lazutkin will return to Earth on 14 August. While swapping docking ports, the crew of the TM26 will inspect the Mir's damaged Spektr module.

On 20 August, Solovyov and Vinogradov will make an internal spacewalk in the Mir's docking node to attempt to link cables from the Spektr module's solar panels to the station's main electrical system.

Foale will join Solovyov on an external spacewalk on 3 September to inspect the exterior of the Spektr to try to locate the leak which caused its depressurisation after the collision with the unmanned Progress tanker on 25 June.

The Space Shuttle Atlantis/STS 86 will arrive at the Mir in late September carrying equipment to allow the damaged solar panel on the Spektr to be removed and possibly replaced.

Foale will be replaced by Dr David Wolf. Wendy Lawrence was dropped from the long-duration mission, because she has not undergone spacewalk training.

Source: Flight International