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The Space Station Saga Continues
News story originally written on July 16, 1997

The two cosmonauts aboard space station Mir were scheduled to perform a necessary spacewalk on July 18th in order to fix the damages caused by the June 25th collision. More troubles have struck the station though. Russian flight commander Vasily Tsibliev told flight surgeons on Monday that he was experiencing heart problems.

Tsibliev complained about heartbeat irregularities, but has felt no distinct pain. Tsibliev, age 43, has had no previous health problems. In fact, he blames the problem on stress caused by the earlier collision. Russian officials said that Tsibliev's condition does not appear serious. However, they do not want him to participate in any long-duration (4-5 hours) spacewalks.

This leaves two options. The first is that astronaut Michael Foale could step in and take Tsibliev's place in performing the much needed spacewalk. Secondly, the new Mir crew scheduled to arrive on August 5th could be trained to perform the task. It is unclear which option will be chosen. Because of this uncertainty, no spacewalk will be performed within a week's time.

What is certain is that Russia is determined to press ahead with Mir missions until 1999.

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