According to the Mission Control Centre, Russian specialists have launched the preparatory stage of the operation to scuttle the depreciated Mir space station and are now checking its on-board systems that will be employed while removing the station from the orbit, above all the micro-engine control system that will be piloting the Mir before the descent and the station's modules and systems controlling orbital parameters, which have to be leakproof, RIA Novosti reports. As of today, the minimal distance between the Mir and the Earth is around 288 kilometres, which means the station can continue its free automatic flight until the end of February, providing it daily descends by 800 meters maximum. Uncontrolled descent will start from an altitude of 240 kilometres.
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Eyewitnesses said that explosions could be heard in the centre of Kyiv. Smoke was seen rising above Zhuliany Airport (Kyiv International Airport)