Russia launches Soyuz TM-29 to the Mir space station, carrying an international crew. Cosmonaut Viktor Afanasyev, French spationaut Jean-Pierre Haigneré, and Slovakian cosmonaut Ivan Bella are aboard. Afanasyev and Haigneré take up residence aboard Mir for 188 days, while Bella returns to Earth with Mir’s previous crew aboard Soyuz TM-28 after one week. When Afanasyev and Haigneré return to Earth in August 1999, they bring home cosmonaut Sergei Avdeyev, who by that point has served a full year in orbit aboard Mir. This is the last flight to Mir sponsored by the Russian government, which is now throwing its weight behind the International Space Station, and Mir is left unmanned when Soyuz TM-29 returns to Earth.