Deorbit - MPEG
(11.8 M) (No Audio)
The journey of the 15-year-old Russian space station ended March 23,
2001, as Mir re-entered the Earth's atmosphere near Nadi, Fiji, and
fell into the South Pacific. Its downfall - planned and controlled -
began around 8 a.m. Moscow time. Engines of a cargo ship docked to Mir
were fired causing the station's orbit to brake, starting the Mir's
descent. The computer generated images below illustrate the breakup
of the 143-ton station as it descended to Earth.
At approximately 100km, Mir entered the atmosphere and friction began
to heat the outer surfaces.
The initial breakup began at about 95 km, when aerodynamic
forces tore off the solar panels.
At 85 km, all peripheral pieces were torn away, and
the main modules began to buckle.
The surviving fragments fell into the South Pacific east
of New Zealand. Witnesses to the fiery downfall attributed sonic booms
to the estimated 20 to 25 tons of remnants moving quickly toward the
The digital still images (above) and the following computer
generated animation were provided by Analytical Graphics, Inc. Although
the animation segment was created prior to the actual event, it closely
approximates the reentry of Mir. To view the animation, choose the link
Deorbit animation - MPEG (11.8 M) (No Audio)
the CNN footage of the Mir Deorbit -
MPEG (5.3 M) (No Audio)
more computer generated animations of the Mir