On this day February 19, 1986

The space station Mir of the Soviet space program was launched, establishing the first long-term research station in space.mir_on_12_june_19981

Mir (Russian: Мир) was a Russian orbital station. Mir was the world’s first consistently inhabited long-term research station in space, and the first ‘third generation’ type space station, constructed over a number of years with a modular design.

Mir holds the record for longest continuous human presence in space at eight days short of 10 years, and, through a number of collaborations, was made internationally accessible to cosmonauts and astronauts of many countries (program Intercosmos).

The most notable of these, the Shuttle-Mir Program, saw American Space Shuttles visiting the station eleven times, bringing supplies and providing crew rotation. Mir was assembled in orbit by successively connecting several modules, each launched separately from 1986 to 1996.

The station existed until 23 March 2001, when it was deliberately de-orbited, breaking apart during atmospheric re-entry over the South Pacific Ocean.

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