After Skylab Mir was the second permanent space station. Its core was launched on February 19, 1986. Over ten years later it was completed with the adding of the Remote Sensor Module. During its 13 years in orbit it was a home for 62 cosmonauts from 24 different countries.
Mir is floating 390 km above Earth. A Russian cargo and resupply vehicle is used to send science equipment and data to and from the station. Each transport also includes food and water supplies for Mir. When it is leaving the station it takes care of the removal of waste materials.
The entire complex is composed of six modules. The most important of the is the core module. It has a total length of 43 meters and contains the crew's living quarters and control area. Each cosmonaut has got a room for himself as well as a personal hygiene area. From the control area the crew has got access to every major system on board. The core has got multiple docking ports where additional modules are attached to. They also allow space craft dockings.
Mir has got four additional modules. Besides contributing to the station's energy supply and adding storage space for food and water the modules have got a special purpose. The astrophysics module Kvant-1 gathers information from far-away stars, Kvant-2 provides laboratory areas for biological research. In addition it has an airlock for space walks. The Kristall Technological Module is used for material development in a space environment, and has got a docking port that can be used with the Space Shuttle. The Remote Sensing Module contains a number of Spectrometers. Its purpose is to make observations of the Earth atmosphere.