Mark Hess Headquarters, Washington, DC (Phone: 202/358-1776) Debra Rahn Headquarters, Washington, DC (Phone: 202/358

-1638) Rob Navias Johnson Space Center, Houston (Phone: 713/483-5111) Lisa Malone Kennedy Space Center, FL (Phone: 407/867-2468) RELEASE: 95-55

April 21, 1995

NASA CONSIDERS NEW SHUTTLE SCHEDULE BASED ON SPEKTR LAUNCH DATE Based on Russian Space Agency plans to launch their Spektr scientific module between May 21 and May 25, 1995, NASA officials are planning to launch the STS-71 Atlantis mission on June 24. NASA will, however, be prepared to launch Atlantis a few days earlier if work to reconfigure the Mir space station proceeds ahead of schedule. The final launch date will be selected closer to Atlantis' flight based on the outcome of Mir's preparations. A decision on which Shuttle mission will fly next is expected no later than May 1. To maintain a planned June launch of Discovery with its Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-G payload, NASA managers have accelerated processing of STS-70 and are working toward the capability of launching the mission as early as June 8. STS-70 will be commanded by three-time Shuttle astronaut Tom Henricks, pilot Kevin Kregel, and mission specialists Nancy Sherlock, Donald Thomas and Mary Ellen Weber. -more-

-2The 20-ton Spektr module will be launched on a Proton rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Aboard Spektr is nearly 2,000 pounds of U.S. scientific hardware for use by astronauts who will live and work aboard the Mir station. The crew of Mir 18 will activate and checkout many of the U.S. experiments on Spektr. Cosmonauts Vladimir Dezhurov and Gennadiy Strekalov and cosmonaut researcher Norm Thagard were launched to Mir on March 14. The reconfiguration of the Mir station for Atlantis' arrival involves the docking of Spektr, the movement of one solar array from the Kristall science module to the Kvant-1 science module, and the rotation of both the Kristall and Spektr modules to their final position. Four spacewalks are required to support the reconfiguration activity. The STS-71 mission will mark the first link-up of a U.S. spacecraft with a Russian spacecraft since the historic Apollo Soyuz Test Project conducted almost 20 years ago in July 1975. Two days after its launch from the Kennedy Space Center, Atlantis and its seven-member crew -- Robert "Hoot" Gibson, Charlie Precourt, Ellen Baker, Greg Harbaugh, Bonnie Dunbar, Anatoly Solovyev and Nikolai Budarin -- will dock to the Mir space station. Cosmonauts Solovyev and Budarin will remain aboard the Mir, while Thagard and his two Russian colleagues will return to Earth on Atlantis. STS-71 is the first of seven planned Shuttle docking flights to Mir. The docking missions, together with longduration flights by U.S. astronauts on the Mir space station, will serve as precursor missions for the international Space Station. -endNASA press releases and other information are available automatically by sending an Internet electronic mail message to domo@hq.nasa.gov. In the body of the message (not the subject line) users should type the words "subscribe press-release" (no quotes). The system will reply with a confirmation via E-mail of each subscription. A second automatic message will include additional information on the service. Questions should be directed to (202) 358-4043.