MOSCOW (AP) -- The 14-year-old Mir space station, once a symbol of Soviet space glory, will be ditched in February in a controlled descent that will send it hurtling into a remote area of the Pacific Ocean, Russia's Cabinet decided Thursday.
The decision came after months of wrestling over what to do with the Mir, which Moscow can no longer afford to maintain. The Mir is by far history's longest-serving space station, and Russians have been reluctant to let it go.
"Nothing can last for eternity, even the Mir," Russian space agency chief Yuri Koptev told reporters, warning that it would be unsafe to keep the rattling, corroding Mir aloft in its current state.
The Cabinet approved a plan to crash the Mir into the Pacific 900 to 1,200 miles east of Australia on Feb. 27-28. The move comes after attempts to find private investors to fund it failed, Koptev said.
Officials here said Russia should concentrate its funds on the new international space station instead of the Mir -- something NASA has been urging for years.
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