Mir: More Fingers Point

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MOSCOW: Maybe it's not all their fault. As the finger-pointing continues over June's collision between a cargo ship and Mir's Spektr module, a panel of top Russian space officials said that ground controllers must share some of the blame with cosmonauts Vasily Tsibliyev and Alexander Lazutkin. That's something of a relief for the two spacemen, who earlier this week were fingered by Valery Ryumin, coordinator of the NASA-Mir mission, as the sole culprits in the crack-up.

While the duo now have someone to share the blame with, Ryumin still claims the cosmonauts alone caused the accident and that he has "irrefutable evidence" to prove it. Perhaps. But as deputy director of Energia, the company which built Mir, Ryumin has an interest in blaming the workmen rather than the tools.