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Shuttle-Mir Background - NASA Mir Ground Support

Teams from Johnson Space Center in Houston provided science and engineering support to the U.S. astronauts on Mir. Every six to eight weeks, a new team of scientists and engineers rotated to the Mission Control Center (Moscow), to work on technical issues and to assist the American astronaut onboard Mir. The team was responsible for all U.S. hardware on the Mir, such the glovebox located in the Priroda module, and an experiment called the bioreactor, which was used to grow cartilage cells.

Communications sessions with Mir only lasted for about ten minutes and had to be shared with Russian flight controllers. That allowed just enough time to discuss the status of experiments and for the astronauts to ask advice on any other issues. The team then collaborated with a companion support team at the Mission Control Center in Houston, before advising the astronaut during the next brief communications pass.

Both teams consisted of smaller groups that worked about 9-12 hours a day and alternated between day and evening shifts. One team member, engineer Bob Hoyt said at the time, "They are long days, but we come in for a 12-hour day and there's so much going that at the end of the 12 hours it feels like it's only been 3 or 4 hours. . . And . . . we try to be here for the communication session from . . . when the astronaut wakes up in the morning . . . until the last comm session of the evening."

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