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A Permanent Presence in Space

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The Soviet manned spaceflight program entered a new era in 1986 when Mir, a more advanced modular space station, was launched. To justify the expense of the space program in a more frugal political and economic climate, the Soviets could no longer give foreign cosmonauts free trips into space for good will. Instead, the Soviet government began offering room aboard the Soyuz TM spacecraft and Mir space station for a fee, payable in hard currency. In 1990 a Japanese journalist became the first paying passenger in space. The round-trip ticket to the Mir space station cost the equivalent of $12 million.


In this landing module, cosmonauts Gennadi Manakov and Line art, Soyuz TM-10Gennadi Strekalov returned to Earth in December 1990 after a four-month stay on space station Mir. With them was Japanese journalist Toyohiro Akiyama, who had arrived with the new Mir crew on Soyuz TM-11.

The spacecraft is heavily charred from the heat of reentry. Returning cosmonauts customarily autograph their spacecraft after a successful recovery. Their chalk signatures and thank-you's are still visible. Interior control panels and the cosmonauts' seats can be seen through the portholes.

Lent by The Perot Foundation

Soyuz TM-10, exterior
323 k jpeg
SI#: 97-15882-6
Signatures inside the capsule
106 k jpeg
SI#: 97-16266-10
Length: 2.2 m (7 ft 2 in)
Diameter: 2.2 m (7 ft 2 in)
Weight: 2,800 kg (6,200 lb)
Manufacturer: Energia Scientific Production Assn.
Launch vehicle: Soyuz
Control panel inside the capsule
280 k jpeg

Doll signed by Patsayev
131 k jpeg
SI#: 97-16253-3


A poignant reminder of the risks of spaceflight, this doll was autographed by cosmonaut Viktor Patsayev just before the ill-fated Soyuz 11 flight in 1971. After three successful weeks aboard the Salyut 1 space station, Patsayev and his comrades Georgi Dobrovolsky and Vladislav Volkov died during descent when their capsule accidentally depressurized; to fit into the small spacecraft, the three-man crew had to forego wearing space suits. Patsayev had post-dated his signature to the day after his planned return.

Lent by Emmet, Toni, and Tessa Stephenson

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