Lost In Space

Cash-Poor Moscow Lays Plans to Ground Mir

Mir, Russia's overworked and under-financed space station, may be landing near you soon. Russian space officials, desperately short on cash, admit that they may have to pull the plug (this time deliberately) on the station as early as this year. "If we don't get the funding soon," says one of Mir's handlers, "who knows when and how we'll have to bring the station down?" Officials insist that there is no cause for alarm. "We can manage the initial descent," says space-agency spokesman ANATOLY TKACHYOV, describing a plan to drop the station gradually into descending orbits. If its interlocking modules successfully separate,...

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