Good Night, Mir

1)In 1986, the Mir space station went online in orbit high above the Earth.
2)A technological wonder of the time and named for the "peace" the world was in such desperate need of, it was expected to last a maximum of four or five years.
3)Thirteen and a half years later, Mir is being deserted for the first time.
4)On August 27th at 5:17 EST, the last Mir crew climbed into one of the station's escape pods and headed for Earth.
5)Though the pod was as old as the station itself, the two cosmonauts and one French astronaut landed safely three and a half hours later.
6)Over the course of more than a decade, Mir has hosted 135 people from around the world.
7)It has recovered from more than 1,600 breakdowns during 77,000-plus orbits around the Earth.
8)But Mir is old, and in need of an overhaul the Russian government simply can't afford.
9)Just keeping the station operational in its current state is too expensive to be practical, so tomorrow, Russian control will switch off Mir's central computer.
10)Next spring, a cleanup crew will return to the deserted station, adjusting its orbit before abandoning it for the last time.
11)Hours after they leave, ground controllers will set Mir on a collison course with our atmosphere.
12)The station will leave space for the first time, burning up in the sky above Earth.

Run Away