TIME TO JUMP SHIP?

A SERIES OF MISHAPS AND BREAKDOWNS COULD SPELL THE END FOR RUSSIA'S CRUMBLING SPACE STATION MIR

American astronaut Jerry Linenger was under no illusion that he was flying the world's most reliable spacecraft. He was nonetheless startled not long ago when it suddenly burst into flame.

One of six men aboard the Russian space station Mir, Linenger was relaxing one evening when an alarm rang in the astronomy module. Rushing to the little lab, he found a cosmonaut swatting at a blaze erupting from an air canister. Linenger and his crewmates hurried to help, but the feeble fire extinguishers they carried were no match for the oxygen-fed flames. Ordinarily if things got out of hand, the crew...

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