The first module of the space station Mir was launched on this day in 1986. When it was fully assembled, the space station reached a mass unsurpassed by any previous spacecraft – around 130 tons.
The records for the most consecutive days spent by a human being in space were set on the Mir station – the highest one, which has still not been surpassed, was by cosmonaut Valery Polyakov, who spent 437 days there.
The Mir station orbited the Earth at a height which varied between 290 and 420 kilometers, the so-called low Earth orbit. The space station moved at an average speed of around 27,700 kilometers per hour, so that it took only around an hour and a half to orbit the entire planet. In other words, it orbited the Earth 15.7 times in a single day.
The Mir was launched at the time when Mikhail Gorbachev was the Soviet leader. Indeed, he had become the General Secretary of the Communist Party less than a year after the first module of the Mir was launched.
The word “mir” (мир) in Russian means both “peace” and “world” (before orthographic reforms were introduced in the Russian Empire, “peace” was written “миръ”, while “world” was written “міръ”).