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Mir, Mir--In the Sky...
News story originally written on January 12, 1999

...How long will he have to fly?

It looks like cosmonaut Sergei Avdeyev will have to stay on the Mir space station for an extra 99 days because of money problems in the Russian government.

Russia is expected to launch a Soyuz capsule on February 20th. Taking part in the launch will be a Russian commander and two foreign passengers. The capsule only holds three people so there won't be any room for Avdeyev to return. The near-broke government can't bump either of the foreigners because they're paying customers.

The United States ended its participation in the Mir program last June. Russia had planned to retire Mir and focus on building the International Space Station. Funding problems for Russian components have delayed construction of the ISS by over a year.

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