A near-Mir-miss

MirCrew members of space station Mir and Russian ground controllers practice manual remote control of an unmanned Progress supply vehicle near the station. Where most previous Progress spacecraft have automatically docked using the KURS radar system, Russia is now seeking alternatives, as the Ukraine-made KURS hardware is proving too expensive to keep buying for non-reusable vehicles. During Mir Commander Vasily Tsibliev’s attempt to redock Progress M33, the remote control signal is interrupted, leaving the ten-ton Progress barreling toward the station. Fortunately, it narrowly misses Mir, though the remote control issue will resurface more dramatically with the next Progress craft to visit the space station.