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Shuttle Flights & Mir Increments - STS-84: Foale Succeeds Linenger

May 15 - 24, 1997

Space Shuttle: Atlantis

Crew: Precourt, Collins, Clervoy, Noriega, Lu, Kondakova

Embarking to Mir: Foale

Returning from Mir: Linenger

STS-84 delivered U.S. Astronaut Michael Foale to Mir and brought back to Earth astronaut Jerry Linenger, who had spent 123 days on Mir and who was, at that time, second behind Shannon Lucid for most time spent on-orbit by an American. The crews transferred 249 items between the two spacecraft, for a total of about 7,500 pounds of water, experiment samples, supplies and hardware. One of the first items transferred to Mir was an Elektron oxygen-generating unit, especially important after the Feb. 23, 1997 fire that had occurred on Mir.

During undocking on May 21, 1997, the crew stopped the shuttle three times while backing away, to collect data from a European sensor device designed for future rendezvous of a proposed European Space Agency resupply vehicle with the International Space Station. Other activities conducted during the mission included: investigations using the Biorack facility located in the Spacehab Double Module in Atlantis' payload bay; a photo survey of Mir during docked operations; environmental air samplings; and radiation monitoring.

In his Oral History, Charles Precourt said, "Then in Jerry Linenger's increment, of course, we had the fire, and that was right before I went on my second trip. I brought Jerry home, so I got there right after the fire had occurred and they had cleaned it up completely. There was no remaining evidence of a fire onboard, but Vasily Tsibliev, the commander at the time, was nice enough to give me a tour and show me where everything transpired, and he gave me a little-you know the little pin they pull out of a fire extinguisher to make it work? He had about sixteen or eighteen of them on a little chain that he had made for souvenirs, and he gave me one as a souvenir. And he gave me one of his EVA gloves that he had worn outside on one of their many EVAs to repair the leaks in the system and whatnot. That was really a very, very memorable moment. I have his EVA glove in my living room, and it's a souvenir that I'll cherish forever. But we brought Jerry home, and the station pressed on very nicely, and there was a controversy at the time as to whether or not we should leave Mike Foale because they'd had the fire onboard. We worked our way through that, and Mike had a very successful increment. Unfortunately, of course, he had the collision with the Progress vehicle. I think we've learned an awful lot out of that the hard way. You know, you don't want to learn lessons the hard way, but sometimes you have to, and again, what you read in the paper sometimes is an unfortunate depiction of the events. This should not have happened, they shouldn't have had that collision, but they have dug through all of the factors involved, and they have completely addressed all of those factors that led into that accident."

Related Links:
STS-84 (KSC Spaceflight Archive)
Shuttle Flights and Mir Increments
STS-84: Launch/Docking (video)
STS-84: Meal (video)

Foale Increment
Rendezvous and Docking
Charles Precourt Oral History (PDF)
Michael Foale Oral History (PDF)

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