After months of wrangling over whether they were at fault for a space collision, two former Mir cosmonauts have been paid for the space station's most-troubled mission.
By Russian standards, it was a sweet check. Officials would not disclose the exact sum Thursday but indicated that flight commander Vasily Tsibliyev was paid about $100,000 and engineer Alexander Lazutkin about $80,000.
The two received 70 percent of their pay for the six-month mission soon after their return in August. The rest was withheld pending an investigation into Mir's June 25 crash with an unmanned cargo ship.
A government report issued in September backed off from blaming the crew or ground controllers and vaguely attributed the crash to an "unfavorable combination of factors."
Tsibliyev, who experienced heart trouble caused by stress and fatigue while in orbit, has recovered fully and is in "fine health and good spirits," said Sergei Tafrov, a spokesman for the Star City cosmonaut training center near Moscow. Upon his return from Mir, Tsibliyev clearly was distressed by what he described as unfair criticism back on Earth.