A CLOSE SHAVE IN ORBIT

MIR'S TRICKY REPAIR MISSION IS SET FOR THIS WEEK, BUT EVEN IF THAT SUCCEEDS, THE U.S. MAY ABANDON SHIP

When an unmanned progress resupply ship docked with the ailing Mir space station last week, astronaut Michael Foale had good reason to smile. Among the two tons of equipment hauled up for a risky orbital repair that his two Russian companions are slated to attempt later this week were replacements for his lost toothbrush, shaving kit and sneakers. Freshly groomed and shod, Foale was nothing if not upbeat when he talked to NASA boss Daniel Goldin, himself under heat for allowing Americans to continue working aboard the 11-year-old Mir. "The safety concerns, I think, are well met," said the 40-year-old British-born...

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