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Shuttle-Mir Background - How "Phase 1" Started

On June 17, 1992, U.S. President George Bush and Russian President Boris Yeltsin signed the "Agreement between the United States of America and the Russian Federation Concerning Cooperation in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space for Peaceful Purposes." The cooperation would include a "Space Shuttle and Mir Space Station mission involving the participation of U.S. astronauts and Russian cosmonauts." The leaders also agreed to a flight of Russian cosmonauts on the shuttle in 1993, a flight of a U.S. astronaut on a long-duration mission on Mir in 1994, and a docking mission between the shuttle and Mir in 1995.

On October 5, 1992, in Moscow, Daniel Goldin, Administrator of NASA, and Yuri Koptev, Director General of RSA, signed the "Implementing Agreement between the National Aeronautics and Space Administration of the United States of America and the Russian Space Agency of the Russian Federation on Human Space Flight Cooperation." This agreement detailed cooperation that included a Russian cosmonaut flying on the shuttle mission STS-60 as a mission specialist; a U.S. astronaut launching in a Soyuz, spending more than 90 days on the Mir, and returning in a shuttle; Russian cosmonauts on Mir being "changed out" via the shuttle on the same flight that would return the U.S. astronaut; and evaluation of the Russian Androgynous Peripheral Docking Assembly.

Later, the American side proposed expanding the program to include up to 10 dockings of the shuttle with Mir, increasing the presence of American astronauts on Mir to up to two years, and delivering up to two tons of hardware onboard the Russian Spektr and Priroda modules. Separate Mir flights of up to six months were proposed for American astronauts.

Initially, Tommy Holloway at Johnson Space Center and Valery Ryumin at NPO-Energia were asked to be the technical program managers of the Phase 1 Program.

Phase 1 became a formal stand-alone program on the NASA side on October 6, 1994, when Associate Administer for Spaceflight, Jeremiah Pearson III, signed a letter establishing the Program Plan and officially appointing Tommy Holloway as Manager.

In August of 1995, Frank Culbertson was named as the Phase 1 Program Manager, and he remained at this position for the duration of the Program.

To accomplish Shuttle-Mir Program Goals, a Joint Working Group Structure was developed.

Related Links:

Official Documents
How Phase 1 was Organized
Working Groups Structure
Russian Space Agency and Energia
Shuttle-Mir Goals
Profile: Valery Ryumin
Profile: Tommy Holloway
Profile: Frank Culbertson

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