1986 – 2001: Mir Space Station
Space shuttle Atlantis docked to Mir.
Mir (which can mean both Peace and World in Russian) was a Soviet (and later Russian) orbital station. Mir was humanity’s first consistently inhabited long-term research station in space, and the first ‘third generation’ type space station, constructed over a number of years with a modular design.
Mir currently holds the record for longest continuous human presence in space at eight days short of 10 years, and, through a number of collaborations, was made internationally accessible to cosmonauts and astronauts of many different countries. The most notable of these, the Shuttle-Mir Program, saw American Space Shuttles visiting the station eleven times, bringing supplies and providing crew rotation. Mir was assembled in orbit by successively connecting several modules, each launched separately from 1986 to 1996.
Mir space station in Earth orbit.
The station existed until 23 March 2001, at which point it was deliberately de-orbited, breaking apart during atmospheric re-entry over the South Pacific Ocean.
Mir burning up in the atmosphere during reentry.