A defect in the docking section for a module addition to the Mir space station has forced the postponement of its launch by at least 40 days in another setback for the Soviet space program, a well-placed source said.
The module, the first of two additions to the work space of the 41-ton Mir, has been the source of concern within the space-station program for more than a year.Delays in its delivery forced the Soviets to leave the Mir unmanned six months ago in the first interruption in more than two years of continuous occupancy of the space station. The Mir, the pride of the Soviet program, was finally reactivated Sept. 8.
"The problem has nothing to do with the Mir," the source said Thursday. "The problem is on the ground."