The Russian orbiting station Mir descends in orbit by 700-800 metres daily, said the Mission Control Centre. Its minimum orbit is currently about 283 kilometres. "This means that within the next 20 days the station will remain in the zone of safe flying, precluding its automatic deorbiting. But between March 4 and 10 the Centre must activate a programme for crashing or orbit-changing," it was said at the Centre, "because the flight altitude would approach the danger mark - 250 kilometres above the Earth's surface." "Over the weekend the station was positioned so as to take most advantage of solar energy for its conversion into electricity," the Centre said. At the same time, its on-board systems were tested - the station control system, its central computer, and the station's attitude-changing ability, RIA Novosti announces. The data confirmed their proper functioning: the temperature in the compartments is kept at around 23 degrees Centigrade and air pressure at about 1 atmosphere. Communication between mission control and the station is steady.
As November 4 approaches (on this day, Russia and Belarus are to sign union programs), disputes between supporters and opponents of the integration become increasingly heated