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Official NASA Communication 95-77

Official NASA Communication 95-77

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Published by: NASAdocuments on Oct 06, 2007
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05/01/2015

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PRESS RELEASE FOR STS-71 PRESS KITRELEASE: 95-77SHUTTLE AND SPACE STATION MIR SET FOR HISTORIC LINK-UPTwenty years after the world's two greatestspacefaring nations and Cold War adversaries staged adramatic link-up between piloted spacecraft, the spaceprograms of the United States and Russia will again meet inEarth orbit when Space Shuttle Atlantis docks to the MirSpace Station in June. "This flight heralds a new era of friendship and cooperation between our two countries," saidNASA Administrator Daniel S. Goldin. "It will lay thefoundation for construction of an international SpaceStation later this decade."The STS-71 mission is the first of seven planned SpaceShuttle-Mir link-ups between 1995 and 1997, includingrendezvous, docking and crew transfers, which will pave theway toward assembly of the international Space Stationbeginning in November 1997.The STS-71 crew will be commanded by Robert L. "Hoot"Gibson who will be making his fifth Shuttle flight.Charles J. Precourt will serve as pilot and will be makinghis second space flight. The three STS-71 missionspecialists aboard Atlantis will include Ellen S. Baker,Mission Specialist-1, who will be making her third flight,Gregory J. Harbaugh, Mission Specialist-2, who will bemaking his third flight and Bonnie Dunbar, MissionSpecialist-3, who will be making her fourth space flight.Also aboard Atlantis will be Cosmonauts Anatoly Y.Solovyev, making his fourth space flight, and Nikolai M.Budarin, making his first flight. Solovyev and Budarin aredesignated as the Mir 19 crew and will remain aboard Mirwhen Atlantis undocks from the nine-year old space stationand returns to Earth with the Mir 18 crew.Launch of Atlantis on the STS-71 mission is currentlytargeted for June 23, 1995 at approximately 5:06 p.m. EDTfrom Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39-A. The
 
actual launch time may vary by a few minutes based oncalculations of Mir's precise location in space at the timeof liftoff due to Shuttle rendezvous phasing requirements.The available launch period, or "window" to launchAtlantis, is approximatley five minutes each day.The STS-71 mission is scheduled to last 10 days, 19hours, 31 minutes. A 5:06 p.m. launch on June 23 would befollowed by a landing at Kennedy Space Center's ShuttleLanding Facility on July 4 at 12:37 p.m. EDT.STS-71's rendezvous and docking with the Mir actuallybegins with the precisely timed launch of Atlantis settingit on a course for rendezvous with the Mir station. Overthe next two days, periodic firings of Atlantis' smallthruster engines will gradually bring the Shuttle to closerproximity to Mir.Unlike most rendezvous procedures that typically havethe Shuttle approaching from directly in front of itstarget, Atlantis will aim for a point directly below Mir,along the Earth radius vector (R-Bar), an imaginary linedrawn between the Mir center of gravity and the center of Earth. Approaching along the R-Bar, from directlyunderneath the Mir, allows natural forces to brakeAtlantis' approach more than would occur along a standardShuttle approach from directly in front of Mir. The R-Barapproach also reduces the small number of jet firings closeto the Mir avoiding damage or contamination of itselectricity-producing solar panels.Joint scientific investigations will be carried outinside the Spacelab module tucked in Atlantis' large cargobay. These investigations will provide more knowledgeabout the human body and the microgravity environment.Research in seven different medical and scientificdisciplines, begun during Mir 18, will conclude on STS-71.Of the 28 experiments being conducted as part of the jointU.S.-Russian cooperative effort, 15 will be performed aspart of the STS-71 mission.The experiments take advantage of the uniquemicrogravity environment, which separates the effects of gravity from the effects of physiologic change occurringfrom other causes. Researchers will not only enhance

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