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  • The Russian space station Mir was launched into orbit on Feb. 20, 1986. It remained in space until it crashed down in the South Pacific Ocean on March, 21, 2001, becoming the largest manmade object to return from space.<br><br> Cosmonaut Leonid Kizim aboard the Mir space station in 1986.
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  • The Mir space station, as seen from the cargo bay of the space shuttle Atlantis on Nov. 8, 1995, as the shuttle approaches to dock with the station.
    Corbis
  • Cosmonaut Valery Polyakov appears at a window of the Russian space station Mir during the STS-63 rendezvous with the American shuttle Discovery. Polyakov boarded Mir on Jan. 8, 1994, and left it on March 22, 1995, setting a record of 438 days in space.
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  • Students from the 8th grade class at Bellflower High School in Los Angeles watch the TV feed from the Mir space station showing flight engineer Yuri Usachev doing zero gravity experiment for the students on April 4, 1996.
    Rick Meyer/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
  • Claudie Andre-Deshays (left), France's first woman in space, and her Russian colleague Alexander Kalery (center) are briefed by Russian flight leader Valery Korzun prior to the Soyuz-TM22 missile take-off for a 16-day scientific mission aboard Russia's orbiting Mir space station, Aug. 17, 1996.
    STR New/Reuters
  • As viewed from Atlantis' flight deck, backdropped against Cook Strait, the Tasman Sea and the South Pacific, several components of Mir greet STS-79 crew members looking through aft-flight deck windows, Sept. 19, 1996.
    Getty Images
  • American astronaut Shannon Lucid on Sept.16, 1996, aboard the Russian Mir space station.
    Corbis
  • The space shuttle Atlantis lifts-off on May 15, 1997, from Kennedy Space Center to begin the sixth U.S. docking mission to the Russian space station Mir. The 10-day mission will deliver a new oxygen generator to the Russian station, where U.S. crew member Michael Foale will replace U.S. Astronaut Jerry Linenger on the Mir.
    Staff/AFP/Getty Images
  • A controller at the Korolyov mission center is silhouetted against a giant screen showing the flight path of the damaged Russian orbiting station Mir, July 2, 1997.
    Dima Korotayev/Reuters
  • Physicians carry Russian cosmonaut, former presidential advisor Yuri Baturin, who spent 12 days aboard the Mir space station, shortly after landing near the town of Arkalyk in North-central Kazakstan, Aug. 25, 1998.
    Mikhail Metzel/AP Photo
  • A Soyuz capsule with the last crew from Russia's Mir space station hits the ground as vehicles arrive meet them, near the town of Arkalyk, Kazakstan, Aug. 28, 1999. The final full-time crew of Russia's Mir space station landed safely after bidding farewell to the rusty, leaky 13-year-old orbiter in preparation for its abandonment the following year.
    Mikhail Metzel/AP Photo
  • Mir orbiting Earth. On March 12, 2001, it was reported that the aging Mir space station is due to descend into Earth's atmosphere March 20, where it will eventually ditch into the Pacific Ocean.
    Roger Ressmeyer/CORBIS
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