|Editions | myCNN | Video | Audio | Headline News Brief | Feedback||
Russia Loses Contact With MirAired December 26, 2000 - 5:45 a.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LINDA STOUFFER, CNN ANCHOR: We've been following this breaking story for you in the last hour or so. Russian Mission Control has lost radio contact with the Mir space station.
For the very latest, we have the opportunity to take you live to Russia. Our Jill Dougherty is standing by with the latest on this.
Hello, Jill. What can you tell us?
JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN MOSCOW BUREAU CHIEF: Hello, Linda.
Well, so far, at least officially from the Russian Space Agency, there's silence, no comment, no confirmation of what is going on. But the initial reports that are coming from Interfax News Agency quoting an unnamed source in the space agency say that the Russian Mission Control lost contact with the Mir space station yesterday -- that's Monday -- at about 2:00 p.m. Moscow time. That would put it at about 7:00 a.m. Monday.
They have been trying automatically, as they normally do, every hour or two to establish contact, and apparently since yesterday have not been able to do it. They're going to be trying, by the way, in another about 10 minutes, another automatic attempt trying to get in touch with the Mir space station.
It's very important to note that, at this point, there are no people aboard. That, of course, would be the primary consideration.
The plan for the Mir space station was actually to bring it down at the end of February -- February 27 or February 28 -- bring it down onto the Earth, destroy it in the atmosphere, if at all possible, a controlled lowering of that space station, have it burn up in the atmosphere, and that would be the end of Mir.
What they've been doing over the past few months is fueling it, trying to get it into the proper orbit so that there would be, as they were referring to it, an "organized" descent of the Mir to finally get rid of it. The concern here is that it could be a disorganized drop of Mir, and that could be, obviously, very dangerous if the space station were to land in populated areas.
Now, no one, I have to note, is saying that that is happening. But it is obviously a concern that they don't have any contact. They are going to try again. But, Linda, so far we don't know precisely what is happening on the Mir.
STOUFFER: And, Jill, I know that the Mir space station has had all kinds of mechanical problems in its long history up there. But has this kind of thing happened before? Have they had to deal with this another time?
DOUGHERTY: Well, they've had many technical problems, as you mentioned. They've had fires aboard and losing contact and out of -- going out of orbit. So there have been a continuing series of problems.
But one of the things was this was a way for Russia to earn money. And some people in the space agency wanted the Mir to continue flying. And it was really a battle between agencies and between individuals as to whether it should come down.
Up until recently, some people really thought that it could continue even though it's 15 years old. It was built to last only three years and it's still up there plagued with problems. So this was one of the concerns that people had. In fact, one of the top officials in the space agency had said just recently that things are going to break down; Mir is not going to last forever, and that's a grave concern.
So we'll have to see if in another 10 minutes they are able to establish contact. But at this point, they haven't been able to do it since yesterday -- Linda.
STOUFFER: And, Jill, we'll have to wait to see what happens in that 10 minutes. But I noticed on the wires there was talk that perhaps the Russian Space Agency could send up a crew to try to get in there and see what the problem is and see if they could fix something. Is that an issue or a possibility that's being talked about there?
DOUGHERTY: Well, it probably would be a possibility. We have, obviously, not heard of any plan yet. This news is just breaking about the lack of communication. But conceivably they could. They have been sending up payloads of fuel on Progress space vehicles to go up there and refuel the station. And conceivably, Russian cosmonauts are very skilled and could do a space walk and try to figure out what's going on. But that is -- that's a major project, and at this point I'm sure they want to just reestablish that telemetry -- Linda.
STOUFFER: And have fingers crossed that hopefully it all works out in another 10 minutes or so.
Jill Dougherty, thank you very much for the latest on that.
And you can stay with CNN. We are going to continue to follow this story as she was mentioning. Russian Mission Control was planning to send up another signal in just about 10 minutes. So as soon as we get the results on that we, of course, will bring it to you. More details throughout the morning on this.
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com
|Back to the top||
© 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.|
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.