Mir space station to be plunged in the ocean March, 23

Preparations have begun for de-orbiting the space station Mir and plunging it in the Pacific waters. The Flight Control Center said that on Tuesday final checks of the Mir's control systems which will be activated in de-orbiting were started. "This work has begun in line with a decision of the interdepartmental commission, led by Rosaviakosmos chief Yuri Koptev. The commission decided to plunge the space station in the ocean on Friday, March 23," said the control center. Simultaneously, the Mir's central computer will be tested and controllability of engines of the docked ferry ship Progress M proved. The Progress M engines will slow down the Mir and deorbit it, RIA Novosti reports. The entire Mir plunging operation will take approximately six hours, said the Flight Control Center. The operation will hopefully be over at around 09:30 a.m., Moscow time, on March 23.