June 26, 1997 – a nail biting day for the crew of MIR Space Station, recovering from a collision with a cargo ship the day before, the crew were working in the dark to conserve energy supplies and haven’t had sleep since the accident occurred. The Solar Panel, which provided half the Space Station‘s electricity had been damaged in the accident. The crew managed to turn MIR so that it’s undamaged solar panels faced the sun. The three astronauts aboard MIR had been working with an emergency commission back on earth how to repair the Space Station. During one twenty-minute exchange the crew could be heard talking through various options with Russia’s Mission Control. The Astronauts most immediate problem was energy; the crash damaged a key Solar Panel, and the crew was forced to switch off all non-essential equipment. Despite all the reports and concerns, both the Russian and American Mission Controls assured everyone the crew was not in any immediate danger. But at the moment, it was touch-and-go.
Meanwhile, back on earth. An independence leader in East Timor died after being captured by Indonesian authorities. A Japanese fishing boat came under fire from Russian navel vessels in the ongoing dispute over islands off the northern Japanese coast. President Clinton announced tough new controls on air pollution. Puzzled reactions to news of the missing Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot and the status of his whereabouts and optimistic words from Hong Kong’s top financial official about the economic future under upcoming Chinese control and the handover of the former colony from Britain.
All that, and a lot more crammed into some 30 minutes of news reported from all over the world and presented by The BBC World Service and their daily program News Desk for June 26, 1997.