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French astronaut fixes computer glitch on Mir

The new French astronaut aboard the Mir space station has already made himself useful - fixing a computer glitch that temporarily halted one of his experiments.

"A French experiment stopped for a while when one of the computer's cable connections loosened," Russia's deputy Mission Control chief Viktor Blagov said Thursday, adding that astronaut Leopold Eyharts fixed the problem.The French astronaut, who is spending about three weeks on the Mir, brought equipment allowing him to perform a series of medical, biological and technological experiments.

The ITAR-Tass news agency quoted Blagov as saying that all Mir's systems, including a central computer, have been functioning well.

The 12-year old space outpost, originally designed to stay in orbit for only five years, had a string of accidents and equipment failures last year.

Eyharts arrived on Mir last Saturday along with Russian cosmonauts Talgat Musabayev and Nikolai Budarin. He is scheduled to return to Earth on Feb. 19 along with the previous Russian crew members, Anatoly Solovyov and Pavel Vinogradov.

Musabayev and Budarin will stay on for a longer mission along with NASA astronaut Andrew Thomas.