The MIR was a Russian space station that operated from 1986 to 1996 and was the first continuously inhabited station. After a long successful life, it was manually de-orbited in 2001 and allowed to reenter the Earth’s atomosphere and burn up, as it was becoming obsolite and expensive to maintain. See the article at WikiPedia for a history of this important step in space science.
“The station currently holds the record for the longest continuous manned presence in space, at eight days short of ten years, and was occupied for a total of twelve and a half years of its fifteen-year lifespan. Mir had the capacity to support a resident crew of three but could also support larger crews for short-term visits, the largest crew simultaneously aboard the station being six” (WikiPedia, 2010).