Cosmonauts Vasily Tsibliev and Aleksandr Lazutkhin are returning some of the luster to Russia’s tarnished space program as they and American astronaut Michael Foale continue to overcome the effects of last week’s collision with an unmanned Russian cargo vessel. The three have thus far been able to reactivate several of the systems lost following the impact, including the spacecraft’s gyro stabilizers. During a brief television linkup with ground control yesterday, Foale had nothing but praise for his Russian colleagues. They will soon have to perform the most critical step in repairing Mir when they conduct 2 spacewalks — one inside and one outside the damaged Spektr module. An unmanned space freighter is set to blast off from Baikonur, Kazakstan, on July 4th or 5th. It will be carrying a new hatch for the Spektr module, one that contains special electrical connectors. If the cosmonauts can install it, they will be able once against to use electrical power from the module’s solar panels for the rest of the spacecraft. Should they fail, Mir might have to be abandoned. (Russian agencies, Reuter, June 29)
Leftists in the Streets and in Parliament Pressure Kuchma.