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Shuttle Flights & Mir Increments - Thagard Increment: First Astronaut on Mir

March 14 - July 7, 1995

Norman Thagard was the first American astronaut to train in Russia, the first to launch into space aboard a Soyuz TM-21 (with cosmonauts Vladimir Dezhurov and Gennady Strekalov), and the first to complete a residency aboard Mir, setting an American space endurance record of 115 days in orbit. During that time, the Spektr science module was launched to Mir, with more than 1,500 pounds of research equipment from the U.S. and other countries.

Thagard returned to Earth with the space shuttle mission STS-71, the first shuttle flight to dock with Mir. In his Oral History, Thagard comments on the physical sensation of returning to Earth's gravity: "I felt pretty good. I felt very heavy, but then I had felt heavy on landing or entry on the others. I remember on my first flight in 1983 telling Bob Crippen, our commander, that he could quit pulling all those Gs any time he wanted to, and he said, "Well, we're pulling about a tenth of a G right now," and that was just a six-day flight. But after 115 days, it was that feeling only even more pronounced. I felt very heavy."

Related Links:
Thagard on Selection
Thagard on Training
Thagard on Language Training
Thagard on Testing
Thagard on Cold War "Irony"
Thagard on Launching in Soyuz
Thagard on Soyuz Docking
Thagard on Long-Duration Spaceflight
Thagard on "Space Sickness"
Thagard on "Washing Up"
Thagard on Returning to Gravity
Profile: Norman Thagard
Norm Thagard Oral History (PDF)
Shuttle Flights and Mir Increments
Video: Mir-18 (Thagard)

Mir's Spaceflight Records

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