Teenager spots Soviet satellite | Techday, March 18th
On this TECHDAY in history, on March 18th 1986, during the later years of the Cold War, the New York Times reported that a 17-year-old student in New Jersey had tracked the launch of the new Soviet space station, Mir, before the Soviet government officialy announced it. The teen, Phillip Naranjo and his group of friends, were tracking radio transmissions between Earth and space vessels. Even before the Russian announcement, they picked up some Cyrillic code and were able to desipher it.
Mir was a Soviet space station that operated in low Earth orbit from 1986 to 2001. It was the first continuously inhabited long-term research station in space, and was visited by a large number of astronauts and cosmonauts from many different countries. The station served as a microgravity research laboratory, where crews conducted experiments in biology, human biology, physics, astronomy, meteorology, and other fields.
The Mir space station was deorbited in 2001, and its remains were allowed to burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere. Despite its many successes, the Mir space station also faced its share of challenges, including several fires and a near collision with a cargo vessel in 1997. Overall, however, Mir was a landmark achievement for the Soviet space program and made significant contributions to our understanding of life and work in space.
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