Waiting For Reinforcements

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Waiting For Reinforcements MOSCOW: Hope nobody up there has claustrophobia. Russian officials now say vital repairs will be postponed, probably until a fresh crew arrives at Mir next month. But that mission's up in the air too now that the French have gotten cold feet about sending one of their own to the ramshackle space station. The Russians are worried about more than their image problem: if the French pull out, they'll be taking the money they were going to pay the Russians to conduct experiments aboard Mir. For the moment, things have settled down in orbit. With Mir's solar panels once more pointed at the sun and its batteries recharging steadily, the crew has been given a day off. Anxiety-ridden Mir commander Vasily Tsibliyev reportedly took a few sedatives so that he could get some much-needed sleep.