Docked in Space

On June 29, 1995, the space shuttle Atlantis docked on the Russian microgravity research laboratory/space station Mir.

This was the first U.S. Space Shuttle-Russian Space Station docking and joint on-orbit operation. Docked together, the two crafts formed the largest man-made satellite ever to orbit the Earth, over 400 km (250 mi) above the Earth.

Part of this mission was to carry out an on-orbit changeout of crew to and from both shuttle and space station. It required fine international cooperation and planning. Atlantis delivered two “fresh” Russian cosmonauts to Mir and returned one NASA astronaut and two cosmonauts to Earth. As well, the two spacecraft crews transferred equipment and supplies to Mir as well as greenhouse materials for observation of microgravity effects on basic plant processes, biochemistry, and structure. From the space station, Atlantis transferred life science data and specimens to return to home base and research institutes.

As with all other missions to low Earth orbit, it was an intense working mission, 24/7. Among other biomedical activities carried out on Mir and in the payload bay of Atlantis were research questions and study of cardiovascular and pulmonary functions; human metabolism; neuroscience; behavioral performance and biology. Having orbited Earth for over 100 days, the departing Mir crew made great test subjects!

B Bondar / Real World Content Advantage

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