The last crew on the Mir will probably head to the space station in February and remain until mid-1999, Russian space officials said Tuesday.

Space officials had wanted to keep a crew on Mir until the end of 1999, but in recent days several senior officials have said the space station is likely to be abandoned around June, due largely to money shortages.The final crew is expected to include one French and one Slovak astronaut along with a Russian cosmonaut, the Interfax new agency quoted Boris Ostroumov, a deputy director of the Russian Space Agency, as saying.

The money problem was so severe that officials were talking about abandoning the Mir after the current crew returns in August.