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10/25/2000 11:43 AM ID: 1028 Permalink   

ISS Preparations Halted for Annual Day of Mourning


Preparations to launch the first permanent crew of the International Space Station were halted on Tuesday, as workers at the Baikonur cosmodrome celebrated a day of mourning, commemorating 100 people killed there in Soviet-era missile accidents.

The first explosion occurred in 1960, killing 92 people and injuring dozens more. The accident, the largest space disaster ever, was kept secret by the Soviet government, and was not known by the West until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

The second accident occurred on exactly the same day three years later, and killed eight more people. Since then, no work is performed at the Baikonur cosmodrome on October 24th.

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