To Live With Russians: Remembering America’s Long Mission to Mir, 25 Years On (Part 2)

U.S. astronaut Norm Thagard sleeps aboard Mir, during his lengthy voyage. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty-five years ago, this month, the first U.S. astronaut in history was launched aboard a non-U.S. spacecraft, atop a non-U.S. rocket, from a non-U.S. nation, with a crew entirely composed of non-U.S. comrades. Four-time Space Shuttle flyer Dr. Norm Thagard had spent […]

To Live Like Russians: Remembering America’s Long Mission to Mir, 25 Years On (Part 1)

Norm Thagard and Bonnie Dunbar participate in Soyuz-TM training in October 1994. Photo Credit: NASA

In March 2020, it seems inconceivable to think of U.S. astronauts being totally unaccustomed to long-duration spaceflight. Over the past quarter-century, no fewer than 67 Americans—from civilian medical doctors to biochemists and engineers to physicists, and from Army and […]

'Why I Wasn't Devastated': Remembering the Final Shuttle-Mir Mission, 20 Years On

STS-91 marked the ninth and final docking mission between the shuttle and Russia’s Mir space station. Photo Credit: NASA

Twenty years ago, this week, shuttle Discovery pulled away from Russia’s Mir space station for the final time, closing out a group of impressive rendezvous and docking missions which had cemented a new partnership […]

'See the Sunrise?': 20 Years Since STS-84, Mission of the Six Nations (Part 2)

The pressurized modules and solar arrays of Mir, as viewed through the windows of Space Shuttle Atlantis on STS-84. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Two decades ago, tonight, the Florida sky and much of the eastern seaboard of the United States, was lit up and shaken awake by the rousing launch of […]

'We Just Lit Up the Sky': 20 Years Since STS-84, Mission of the Six Nations (Part 1)

Atlantis roars into the night on 15 May 1997, kicking off her sixth visit to Russia’s Mir space station. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Twenty years ago, this week, Space Shuttle Atlantis roared into the night, creating a new dawn across the marshy landscape of the Kennedy Space Center (KSC). “We just […]

'Waiting For You to Land on Mars': 20 Years Since the STS-81 Mission to Mir (Part 2)

The STS-81 and Mir crews gather for a group portrait in the space station’s base block. Front row, from left, are Mike Baker, John Grunsfeld, John Blaha, and Aleksandr Kaleri. Back row, from left, are Jerry Linenger, Valeri Korzun, Marsha Ivins, Jeff Wisoff, and Brent Jett. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Twenty […]

'Horrendous Gas Mileage': 20 Years Since the STS-81 Mission to Mir (Part 1)

Mir, as viewed from Atlantis on STS-81. The orange-colored Docking Module (DM), at the end of the Kristall module, is visible at the right of the image. Photo Credit: NASA, via Joachim Becker/SpaceFacts.de

Two decades ago, this week, America’s Space Shuttle Program began living up to its billing as a vehicle for delivering […]

A Pilot for a Space Station: 20 Years Since John Blaha's Lengthy Mission to Mir (Part 2)

For the first time on STS-79, a shuttle crew saw Mir in its complete configuration, with six research and habitation modules. This would form John Blaha’s home for four months from September 1996 through January 1997. Photo Credit: NASA

“ … And liftoff of Atlantis on the fourth flight to dock with the […]

A Space Station Stay Before Retirement: 20 Years Since John Blaha's Lengthy Mission to Mir (Part 1)

John Blaha gazes through Atlantis’ overhead flight deck windows, shortly after docking with Mir in September 1996. Photo Credit: NASA

Of all the NASA astronauts who have flown long-duration space missions—longer than a month or so—very few have moved from the commander’s or pilot’s seat of a space shuttle and rotated into a […]

Record-Breaker for Women Astronauts: 20 Years Since STS-79 (Part 2)

For the first time on STS-79, a shuttle crew saw Mir in its complete configuration, with six research and habitation modules. It had been Shannon Lucid’s home for six months and would be John Blaha’s home for the next four. Photo Credit: NASA

A glass half-full, or half-empty, was Bill Readdy’s perspective on […]