SPUTNIK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SPUTNIK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Diagram of the Mir space station in an early configuration. Seen here is the Mir core module with a Soyuz spacecraft docked to it (left). Mir ('Peace') was launched by the USSR in February 1986 and spent 15 years in orbit around the Earth, being used to carry out numerous scientific experiments. In its final configuration it had a further six modules attached to it. Mir was de-orbited on 23 March 2001, resulting in its break- up over the Pacific Ocean.
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