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Shuttle Flights & Mir Increments - STS-76: Starting a Continuous U. S. Presence

March 22-31, 1996

Space Shuttle: Atlantis

Crew: Chilton, Searfoss, Godwin, Sega, Clifford, Lucid

STS-76 was the third docking between a U.S. space shuttle and the Russian Space Station Mir and was highlighted by the transfer to Mir of astronaut Shannon Lucid. Lucid became the first American woman to live on the station and commenced a continuous U.S. presence in space for the next two years. Her 188-day stay eclipsed the long-duration U.S. spaceflight record set by the first American Mir astronaut, Norman Thagard.

STS-76 also marked the first flight of the Spacehab pressurized module to support Shuttle-Mir dockings. Spacehab primarily served as a stowage area for supplies and equipment. During five days of docked operations, approximately 1,500 pounds of water and two tons of scientific equipment, logistical material and resupply items were transferred to Mir, while experiment samples and miscellaneous equipment were brought over to the shuttle. On flight day six, Godwin and Clifford conducted the first U.S. extravehicular activity (EVA) around the two mated spacecraft. During the six-hour EVA, they attached four Mir Environmental Effects Payload (MEEP) experiments to Mir's Docking Module.

In his Oral History, astronaut Ronald Sega said: "After hearing of the experiences of the two previous crews that had been on Mir and looking at the photographs of the Mir station, we had a pretty good idea of what the Mir would be like. Some of the tools were placed in more tenuous situations along the sides of the passageways, so you were cautioned, correctly, by the cosmonauts to be careful as we brought equipment through these passageways, not to dislodge pliers and screwdrivers and those kinds of things that were tacked along the sides."

Related Links:
STS-76 (KSC Spaceflight Archive)
Shuttle Flights and Mir Increments
STS-76: Approach/Docking/Hatch (video)
STS-76: EVA/MEEP (video)
STS-76: Lucid Drop-off/Undocking
Lucid Increment
Rendezvous and Docking
Ronald Sega Oral History (PDF)
Shannon Lucid Oral History (PDF)

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