NPR's Larry Abramson reports on the 15-year journey of the world's first true space station. Russian cosmonauts as well as politicians recall Mir with fondness: it provided truly new scientific information about long-duration space flight's effects on humans, as well a politically valuable comeback for the Soviet Union after the U.S. pulled ahead in the space race. Mir outlived its expected life span, and recently the aging orbiter has experienced a series of mishaps and accidents. Russia will "de-orbit" the craft this week and bring it back to a fiery grave somewhere, hopefully, in the Pacific Ocean.
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