Encyclopedia Astronautica
Mir NASA-2


Crew: Blaha. Blaha relieved Lucid as NASA resident on the Mir station. Backup crew: Linenger.

On September 19 STS-79 Atlantis docked with the Russian Mir space station. Aboard Atlantis in the payload bay were the Orbiter Docking System, the modified Long Tunnel, and the Spacehab Double Module, containing supplies for the Mir. Astronaut John Blaha relieved Shannon Lucid as NASA resident on the complex. Atlantis undocked from the Mir complex with Lucid aboard on September 23 at 23:33 GMT. Valeriy Korzun, Aleksandr Kaleri and John Blaha remained on Mir.

STS-81 Atlantis docked with Mir at 03:55 GMT on January 14, 1997. STS-81 transferred 2,715 kg of equipment to and from the Mir, the largest transfer of items to that date. During the docked phase, 640 kg of water, 515 kg of U.S. science equipment, 1,000 kg of Russian logistics, and 120 kg of miscellaneous material were transferred to Mir. Returned to Earth aboard Atlantis were 570 kg of U.S. science material, 405 kg of Russian logistics and 98 kg of miscellaneous material. At 02:16 GMT January 19, Atlantis separated from Mir after picking up John Blaha, who had arrived aboard STS-79 on September 19, 1996, and dropping off Jerry Linenger, who was to stay aboard Mir for over four months. The Shuttle backed off along the -RBAR (i.e. toward the Earth) to a distance of 140 m before beginning a flyaround at 02:31 GMT. Most of the flyaround was at a distance from Mir of 170 m. The first 'orbit' around Mir was complete at 03:15, and the second was completed at 04:02 GMT. Then the Orbiter fired its jets to drift away from the orbit of Mir. NASA's first Shuttle mission of 1997 came to a close with a landing at the Kennedy Space Center at 14:22 GMT on January 22 (after the first opportunity was waved off due to cloud cover at the Cape).

AKA: Atlantis; STS-79 (Blaha).
First Launch: 1996.09.16.
Last Launch: 1997.01.22.
Duration: 128.23 days.

More... - Chronology...


Associated People
  • Blaha Blaha, John Elmer (1942-) American test pilot astronaut. Flew on STS-29, STS-33, STS-43, STS-58, Mir NASA-2. Flew 361 combat missions in Vietnam. More...
  • Lucid Lucid, Dr Shannon Matilda Wells (1943-) American biochemist mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-51-G, STS-34, STS-43, STS-58, Mir NASA-1. Biochemist, first American woman to make a long-duration space station mission. More...
  • Apt Apt, Dr Jerome J III 'Jay' (1949-) American physicist mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-37, STS-47, STS-59, STS-79. More...
  • Wilcutt Wilcutt, Terrence Wade 'Terry' (1949-) American test pilot astronaut. Flew on STS-68, STS-79, STS-89, STS-106. US Marine Corps More...
  • Akers Akers, Thomas Dale 'Tom' (1951-) American test pilot mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-41, STS-49, STS-61, STS-79. More...
  • Readdy Readdy, William Francis 'Bill' (1952-) American test pilot astronaut. Flew on STS-42, STS-51, STS-79. More...
  • Linenger Linenger, Dr Jerry Michael (1955-) American physician mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-64, Mir NASA-3. More...
  • Walz Walz, Carl Erwin (1955-) American test pilot mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-51, STS-65, STS-79, ISS EO-4. More...

See also
Associated Flights
  • STS-79 Crew: Akers, Apt, Readdy, Walz, Wilcutt. Carried Spacehab Double Module, containing supplies for the Mir. More...
  • STS-81 Crew: Baker Mike, Grunsfeld, Ivins, Jett, Wisoff. Transferred 2,715 kg of equipment to and from Mir. More...

Associated Programs
  • Mir The Mir space station was the last remnant of the once mighty Soviet space programme. It was built to last only five years, and was to have been composed of modules launched by Proton and Buran/Energia launch vehicles. These modules were derived from those originally designed by Chelomei in the 1960's for the Almaz military station programme. As the Soviet Union collapsed Mir stayed in orbit, but the final modules were years late and could only be completed with American financial assistance. Kept flying over a decade beyond its rated life, Mir proved a source of pride to the Russian people and proved the ability of their cosmonauts and engineers to improvise and keep operations going despite all manner of challenges and mishaps. More...

Mir NASA-2 Chronology


1996 September 16 - . 08:54 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39A. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-79.
  • STS-79 - . Call Sign: Atlantis. Crew: Blaha; Readdy; Wilcutt; Akers; Apt; Walz. Payload: Atlantis F17 / External Airlock/ODS. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Blaha; Readdy; Wilcutt; Akers; Apt; Walz. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: Mir. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: STS-79; Mir NASA-2; Mir NASA-1; Mir EO-22. Spacecraft: Atlantis. Duration: 10.14 days. Decay Date: 1996-09-25 . USAF Sat Cat: 24324 . COSPAR: 1996-057A. Apogee: 386 km (239 mi). Perigee: 368 km (228 mi). Inclination: 51.7000 deg. Period: 92.10 min. On September 19 Atlantis docked with the Russian Mir space station. Aboard Atlantis in the payload bay were the Orbiter Docking System, the modified Long Tunnel, and the Spacehab Double Module, containing supplies for the Mir. Astronaut John Blaha relieved Shannon Lucid as NASA resident on the complex. Atlantis undocked from the Mir complex on September 23 at 23:33 GMT. Valeriy Korzun, Aleksandr Kaleri and John Blaha remain on Mir. On September 26 Atlantis closed its payload bay doors, and at 11:06 GMT fired its OMS engines for a three minute long deorbit burn. After entry interface at 11:42 GMT the spaceship flew across Canada and the US for a landing at the Kennedy Space Center's Runway 15 at 12:13 GMT.

1996 September 17 - .
  • Mir News 328: Start Atlantis - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: STS-79; Mir NASA-2; Mir NASA-1; Mir EO-22. Within 20 minutes after the launch of Atlantis on mission STS-79 on 16.09.1996 at 08.54.49 UTC commander Readdy could be heard in a contact with Houston via a relay station in Spain. This was on 259.700 mc (AM) between 0913-0919 UTC. For ballistic reasons lift-off took place 46 seconds later than originally planned.

    Rendezvous and docking operations:

    Begin Mir rendezvous operation: 18.09 2134 UTC TI Burn 19.09 0003 Arrival on R-bar (Earth radius vector) 0153 Hovering at 170 feet from Mir 0235 Begin final approach 0310 Atlantis docks with Mir 0317 Hardmate Atlantis/Mir 0337

    For observers in Western-Europe the passes of Mir (and -the then being in a short distance- of Atlantis) begin during Mir's orbit nr. 60468 with a pass between 0307-0315 UTC, maximum elevation 11 degrees. So communications between Mir and Atlantis might be possible on the well known VHF frequencies. Whether there will be TV-images -for instance via CNN- or not is not sure at this point. If the Russians use Altair-1 (Cosmos-2054) over 16 dgs West images seen by Mir of the approaching Atlantis might be possible between 0230-0324 UTC. During the last docking mission of Atlantis (STS-76) those images could be seen via CNN together with images of Mir seen by a camera in Atlantis. It is also possible that the Russians will use Altair-2 (over 96 dgs East) during the window from 0306-0402 UTC.

    Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202


1996 September 19 - .
  • Mir News 329: Atlantis docked at Mir - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: STS-79; Mir NASA-2; Mir NASA-1; Mir EO-22. 'Readdy was ready' and he controlled the free drift with a speed of appr. 2.5 cm/sec of Atlantis to Mir during the final phase of the approach. The result was a perfect soft docking on 19.09.96 at 0313 UTC. The original operation schedule was almost executed on the minute, except for the time of the 'touch', which had been put forward by 4 minutes. For friends in Western Europa who use to monitor radio transmissions during such operations this was a blessing for it meant that the docking could take place within the window for both objects on Mir's orbit nr. 60468, 0307-0315 UTC. So at 031330 UTC they could hear Readdy reporting in Russian: 'KASANIYE' (touch). For this report he used the 130.165 mc FM and immediately after his report commander Korzun in Mir reported on 143.625 mc that he had a positive indication about the docking. Monitoring people always hope that they can pick up that important word 'kasaniye' during dockings of Soyuz- and Progress-ships, but mostly the moment of that touch takes place just a few minutes after LOS of their position, in the past this occurred a few times during Soyuz-TM dockings. Of course it is always possible to log the traffic during such dockings in the final phase of the approach. This time there was not much radio traffic before the 'touch' for Readdy had to do his job with concentration and everybody was watching the operation silently. TV-images transmitted by TV-stations revealed that there were no direct images from camera's on board Mir. So possibly the geostationary Luches: Altair-1 and 2 were not in use. During the first 3 docking missions these images could be seen simultaneously with the images from Atlantis , relayed by TDRS-s. Certainly we will get images made from inside Mir during the docking operation, but these were recorded and transmitted to earth later. During the next pass of the enormous space-complex (in orb. Mir nr. 60469, 0441-0453 UTC) the Mir-crew already had accomplished the air-seal checks and opened 2 hatches of the SO (docking compartment). They also had removed things which had been necessary during the docking and now had to be stowed away. Just before LOS for our position Korzun tried to communicate via 130.165 mc with Atlantis to get information about the proceedings there. Opening of the hatches from Atlantis to Mir took place at 0539 UTC, so not in our VHF-range. Via TV-stations receiving relays via a TDRS we could see nice images of the meeting of both crews and the first gathering on board Mir.

    SAREX STS-79: During this mission there might be radio-amateur activities by the astronauts-radio-amateurs Jay Apt (N5QWL), Carl Walz (KC5TIE) and John Blaha (KC5TZQ). Sarex VHF downlink is 145.840 mc FM with uplink frequencies: 144.450 and 144.470 mc FM. Please do not use 145.840 mc FM for 'uplink' or -during Atlantis passes -local bragging. Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202


1996 September 26 - .
1996 October 7 - .
  • Mir News 330: Progress-M33 - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir NASA-2; Mir EO-22. The launch of this freighter was planned for 15.10.1996. Due to problems with the carrier-rocket the launch has been put back possibly to 2.11.1996.

    Mir-routine: Mir's passes for our position are gradually shifting from the night to the late evening hours. So still not much traffic via VHF. Now and then the Russians use the geostationary Altair-1 (Cosmos-2054) for Mir-communications. On 5.10.1996 the crew spoke with TsUP about a lot of condenstation in a cable compartment. Possibly this problem has been resolved as they did not mention it the next day. During conversations with TsUP on 6.10.1996 the cosmonauts mentioned the dismissal of Gen. Ivanov from his command of the VKS (space forces). They supposed that this also means that Gen. Ivanov also has been relieved of his chairmanship of the State Committee for Spaceflight. This committee always selects which crew will fly and the chairman takes the oath of departing crews. General Ivanov has a long and excellent career in spaceflight and the relinquishment of his command must be a heavy blow for Russian spaceflight. At least this is my opinion, but I am sure that the cosmonauts will share this opinion with me. John Blaha: He is like his predecessor very active and from conversations in Russian as well in English with specialists on earth can be derived that he is very enthusiastic. He still has to accustom himself to the differences between his training in replicas on earth and the practice in space. On earth things in training modules have been put straight in contradiction to the situation on board. Often it takes him a long time and consultations with the earth to find things he needs for his experiments. During passes of the Mir-station during working hours it might be possible that Blaha uses the 130.165 mc while his Russian colleagues use 143.625 mc. The arrangement for the use of 130.165 mc will be made on 143.625 mc. They speak about UKW-dva , they mean 130.165 mc.

    Radio-amateur traffic: The 145.550 mc is fully in use for Packet radio and often Korzun can be heard in phone with amateurs on earth. Korzun is a skilled and enthusiastic radio-amateur. It is also worth while to monitor the 437.925 and 437.950 mc for traffic via the Safex installation in the Priroda module. The 437 mc band is primary for ISM-purposes (Industrial, Scientific and Medical). In my neighbourhood this band is fully blocked by a hospital using that band for health monitoring equipment. I would be very pleased to hear experiences in this field from friends in other parts of our globe.

    Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202.


1996 October 24 - .
  • Mir News 331: Progress-M33 - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir NASA-2; Mir EO-22. The launch of this freighter is on schedule for the midst of November. The exact date has not yet been set. The delay has been caused by problems in the delivery of the Soyuz-U carrier.

    First EVA:

    If Progress-M33 will be launched as planned and the docking at the Mir station will be successful, the crew of the 22d Main Expedition to Mir will make the first spacewalk (EVA) on 21.11.1996. During this EVA the cosmonauts will have to deploy and connect cables for a new solar panel.

    Radio-amateur traffic: The repeater of the radio amateur installation in the Priroda module is fully operational and traffic can be monitored almost every pass on frequency 437.950 mc (+ and - for Doppler shift). The crew uses 145.550 mc for own phone contacts. The Russians use the call R0Mir; John Blaha uses his official call KC5TZQ. Valeriy Korzun expects to get his own Russian call in the future. 145.550 mc is still in use for packet radio traffic.

    Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202.


1996 October 29 - .
  • Mir News 332: Progress-M33 - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir NASA-2; Mir EO-22. The last estimated date for the launch of this freighter is 17.11.1996.

    Radio-amateur traffic:

    As of 1.11.1996 the Mir crew (call sign R0Mir) will use new frequencies for VHF-traffic. Packet radio: 145.800 mc; Voice, downlink: 145.200 mc, uplink 145.800 mc. These frequencies had been recommended by the International Amateur Conference for Region 1.

    Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202.


1996 November 13 - .
  • Mir News 333: Progress-M33 - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir NASA-2; Mir EO-22. The delayed launch of this freighter is now on schedule for 19.11.1996 at 2320 UTC (for Moscow then already 20.11.1996). Progress-M33 will bring food, water, fuel, post, spare parts, etc. to the station. The crew is anxiously waiting for containers for the collection of 'human waste' . The available containers are as good as full and the crew has to 'improvise' measures to keep this situation under control. They did not complain about this problem, but have no appreciation for the fact that TV-stations in Russia made it public as this caused anxiety among their relatives. There also has been a publication about the fact that their vacuum cleaner was out of order. Korzun denied this. Jokingly he supposed that someone produced this disinformation to get more money from the taxpayers for spaceflight.

    Communications: Mir is passes take place during the day hours and a lot of radio traffic can be monitored. During the 5th pass within our range Mir is no longer in range of Russian tracking stations. Now and then the tracking station of ESA, Oberpfaffenhofen, relays Mir-TsUP communications during that pass. The packet radio installation is regularly in use for radio-amateur traffic on 145.800 mc. This P/R installation now and then is used for service traffic on 143.625 mc. This is not always successful and then TsUP used the old RTTY installation as an alternative.

    Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202.


1996 November 19 - . 23:20 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz 11A511U.
  • Progress M-33 - . Payload: Progress M s/n 233. Mass: 7,190 kg (15,850 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: RAKA. Program: Mir. Class: Manned. Type: Manned logistics spacecraft. Flight: Mir NASA-2; Mir EO-22. Spacecraft: Progress M. Duration: 112.17 days. Completed Operations Date: 1997-03-12 03:22:59 . Decay Date: 1997-03-12 03:22:59 . USAF Sat Cat: 24663 . COSPAR: 1996-066A. Apogee: 387 km (240 mi). Perigee: 361 km (224 mi). Inclination: 51.7000 deg. Period: 92.00 min. Unmanned resupply vessel to Mir. Docked with Mir on 22 Nov 1996 01:01:30 GMT. Undocked on 6 Feb 1997 12:13:53 GMT. Thereafter in independent orbital flight in a 377 x 395 km x 51.65 deg orbit. Failed to redock with Mir on 4 Mar 1996. Destroyed in reentry on 12 Mar 1997 03:23:37 GMT. Total free-flight time 35.70 days. Total docked time 76.47 days.

1996 November 20 - .
  • Mir News 334: Successful launch freighter Progress-M33 - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir NASA-2; Mir EO-22. This long-expected freighter blasted off from Baykonur on 19.11.1996 at 23 hrs 20 mins and 35 seconds UTC (for Moscow-time and for MEWT already on 20.11.1996). After some orbits the beacon- and TLM-transmissions could be monitored over here. The cargo of Progress-M33 consisting of post, food, spare-parts, containers for human waste and materials for experiments weighs 1650 KG. In the tank-compartment of Progress-M33 547 KG oxygen, fuel and water has been stored. Fuel for the Mir-complex itself weighs 2462 KG. Also among the 547 KG a new supply of nitrogen for the pressurising and purging of the oxygen-producing Elektron systems. Because of the fact that there will be no further deliveries of supplies before New Year the mail-bag also contains the Christmas- and New Year post for the crew.

    Progress-M32: This old freighter has to free the port at which she is docked now for the arrival of the Progress-M33. This is the aft docking port (Kvant-1, +X-axis). Progress-M32 can abandon the Mir-station for the systems of her successor are working normally. This will take place on 20.11.1996 at 1945 UTC. After a few orbits Progress-M32's engines will be fired for the de-orbit manoeuvre after which Progress-M32 will burn up over a designated area in the Pacific East of New Zealand.

    Expected time of arrival and docking Progress-M33 at Mir:

    This will be on 22.11.1996 at 0100 UTC. Progress-M33 has to approach and dock in the automatic mode by the system Kurs. If this system fails commander Korzun is ready to conduct the freighter manually with the system TORU.

    Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202.


1996 November 22 - .
  • Mir News 335: Progress-M33 successfully docked at Mir - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir NASA-2; Mir EO-22. The Progress-M33 linked up with Mir on 22.11.1996 at 010130 UTC. Approach and docking were executed in the automatic mode with the system Kurs. Until the soft mate Korzun was prepared to take over manually with TORU if necessary. During the first pass of Mir in orbit 61467 from 0050-0056 UTC Korzun reported about the approaching freighter. At 0556 UTC TsUP gave permission for the docking. Already during the pass in orb. 61468 from 0223-0234 UTC the crew reported that they had opened the hatch and that they enjoyed the fresh air which flowed in and the smell of apples.

    Progress-M32: This old freighter separated from Mir on 20.11.1996 at 194414 UTC. The same day at 224218 UTC the de-orbit burn took place and she burnt up over the Pacific East from New Zealand.

    Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202.


1996 November 27 - .
  • Mir News 336: 1st Spacewalk (EVA) crew 22d Main Expedition to MI - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir NASA-2; Mir EO-22. The crew of the 22d M.E. to Mir, Korzun and Kaleri, will do this EVA on 2.12.1996 between 1550 UTC (opening hatch) and 2130 UTC (closure hatch). During this EVA they will have to install extra cables and contacts for a solar panel on the outer surface of the astrophysical module Kvant-1 (Module-E). This solar panel had been installed over there in May 1996 by Onufriyenko and Usachov. This panel had been delivered to Mir by Atlantis on 15.11.1995 during mission STS-74 as cargo on the docking compartment. At the outer surface of that compartment 2 solar batteries had been stowed, 1 Russian and 1 American. In May 1996 the American one had been installed and partly connected. That is why the solar panel could deliver not more than 3 kW. If the work during the 1st EVA will be accomplished successfully the panel can deliver 6 kW electrical power. During the EVA John Blaha will remain inside the complex to assist and take care for the communications.

    Radio communications during this EVA:

    During passes on 143 mc, but somewhat lower than 143.625 mc and possibly via the 2 available geostationary Altair-satellites.

    Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202.


1996 December 2 - . 15:54 GMT - .
  • EVA Mir EO-22-1 - . Crew: Korzun; Kaleri. EVA Type: Extra-Vehicular Activity. EVA Duration: 0.25 days. Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Korzun; Kaleri. Program: Mir. Class: Manned. Type: Manned space station. Flight: Mir NASA-2; Mir EO-22. Spacecraft: Mir. Summary: Began installation of MCSA solar array cables..

1996 December 3 - .
  • Mir News 337: 1st Spacewalk (EVA) crew 22d Main Expedition - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir NASA-2; Mir EO-22. Korzun and Kaleri did this EVA on 2.12.1996 between 1554 and 2151 UTC (duration 5 hrs. 57 mins). They had to deploy and connect cables to the American solar panel on the outer surface of Kvant-1. They accomplished their task successfully and without problems. The solar panel has been checked and can deliver a current of 80 Amperes. When Mir for the first time came within our range (orbit 61636, 2015-2022 UTC) the cosmonauts were still working near the Sofora girder. Somewhat later they returned to the airlock. During the 2d pass for our position (orb. 61637, 2149-2159 UTC) Korzun reported the closure of the hatch at 2157 UTC. Regularly John Blaha could be heard in contacts with TsUP and the cosmonauts. Inside the Mir- complex he assisted the cosmonauts, checked systems and executed commands given to him by TsUP. While Korzun and Kaleri were still in the airlock to equalise the air pressure Blaha in co-ordination with TsUP loaded control-data in the central computer. On 3.12.1996 at abt. 0108 UTC, everybody, your scribe inclusive, though tired but satisfied, went to sleep. 2d EVA 22d M.E.: This EVA is on schedule for 9.12.1996. During this EVA Korzun and Kaleri will have to accomplish the following tasks: 1st: The mounting of Rapana on the 3d truss construction at the outer surface of the Kvant-1 module: 2d: The installation of a new Kurs-antenna on the transition section (P.Kh.O.). Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202

1996 December 9 - . 13:50 GMT - .
  • EVA Mir EO-22-2 - . Crew: Korzun; Kaleri. EVA Type: Extra-Vehicular Activity. EVA Duration: 0.28 days. Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Korzun; Kaleri. Program: Mir. Class: Manned. Type: Manned space station. Flight: Mir NASA-2; Mir EO-22. Spacecraft: Mir. Summary: Completed external cable installation for MCSA solar array. Installed antenna..

1996 December 10 - .
  • Mir News 338: 2d Spacewalk (EVA) 22d Main expedition - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir NASA-2; Mir EO-22. This EVA took place on 9.12.1996 between 1352 UTC (opening hatch) and 2028 UTC (closing hatch). So a duration of 6 hrs 36 mins. The EVA lasted longer for Korzun wished to accomplish all what had to be done and there also was a problem with something which bungled loose. Before return they restored the connection of the radio-amateur antenna for the 145 mc. Probably this antenna had been disconnected by accident during the 1st EVA. They connected the antenna again and while they were flying over Chile and Brazil they asked John Blaha to listen out on the 145.800 mc to check whether the antenna was working or not. There was no traffic on that frequency in that area and so they had to wait until they came in range of European amateurs. I asked the English radio-amateur Pat Gowen (G3IOR) to give calls on 145.800 mc as soon as Mir would come in range (at abt. 1934 UTC). So he did and these signals could be heard by John Blaha while Mir was flying over France. He reported this to the still being on EVA Korzun and Kaleri and congratulated them with their success. Korzun urged John not to transmit, but to listen only. The cosmonauts fully accomplished their tasks: installing the truss construction Rapana at the truss Ferma-3 and the replacement of the Kurs-antenna on the outer surface of the P.Kh.O. (transition section). John Blaha who stayed inside the complex took care of the communications and executed commands given to him by TsUP. He gave the cosmonauts all possible moral and technical help. The cosmonauts and Blaha did an excellent job during this EVA, they gave an example of fruitful international co-operation and so they all deserve a loud: 'MOLODTSY' (very well done). Of course the cosmonauts were very tired after the EVA and back in the airlock they had to do hard labour to put off their spacesuits. Just before midnight Korzun could be heard in a contact with a Portuguese radio-amateur via the repaired antenna for the 145 mc.

    Thus far there are no more EVA's on schedule for this crew.

    Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202.


1997 January 3 - .
  • Mir News 339: Solar-orbit - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir NASA-2; Mir EO-22. As of 1.01.1997 the Mir-complex will remain in a so called solar-orbit for 1 week. This means that the Mir remains in the sunlight and has no shadow periods. While large areas on the Northern Hemisphere experience very low temperatures these are high on board the space-station. The cosmonauts and the astronaut have to wear airy clothing. Periods like this are very good for the execution of space-walks (EVA-s), but regretfully there are no more EVA-s planned for this expedition.

    Communications: Now and then the (almost) geostationary satellite Cosmos-2054 (Altair-1) is used for the TsUP-Mir communications. This satellite is standing over 16 dgs West. Sometimes the satellite is used for phone only, but more often to exchange TV-transmissions. On 27.12.1996 during orbit 62024 Korzun explained the experiment Volna and the behaviour of liquids in this instrument could be seen. They use the Altair-1 satellite also for interviews, press-conferences and Packet radio for reception and transmission of radiograms. In the near future the DLR-ground facility in Oberpfaffenhofen will use this satellite for direct contacts with European astronauts.

    Radio-amateurism: On 1.01.1997 the crew changed the frequencies for radio-amateur traffic in the 145 Mc band. They now also use duplex (split) for Packet radio traffic. They changed the frequencies as follows: Uplink (transmissions to Mir) for Phone and P/R 145.200 Mc; downlink (from Mir to Earth, for Phone as well as for P/R 145.800 Mc. Changes like this can always be expected: the change which is suitable for 1 region might be unfavourable for other regions. This change is very good for the amateur-satellite band between 145.800-146 Mc as strong ground stations no longer hamper weak Oscar downlink signals around 145.800 Mc.

    Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202


1997 January 12 - . 09:27 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39B. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-81.
  • STS-81 - . Call Sign: Atlantis. Crew: Baker, Mike; Jett; Wisoff; Grunsfeld; Ivins; Linenger. Payload: Atlantis F18 / Spacehab Double Module. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Baker, Mike; Jett; Wisoff; Grunsfeld; Ivins; Linenger. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: Mir. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Flight: Mir NASA-2; Mir EO-22; STS-81; Mir NASA-3. Spacecraft: Atlantis. Duration: 10.20 days. Decay Date: 1997-01-22 . USAF Sat Cat: 24711 . COSPAR: 1997-001A. Apogee: 380 km (230 mi). Perigee: 343 km (213 mi). Inclination: 51.7000 deg. Period: 91.80 min. After a night launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis, the Shuttle docked with Mir at 03:55 GMT on January 14. STS-81 transferred 2,715 kg of equipment to and from the Mir, the largest transfer of items to that date. During the docked phase, 640 kg of water, 515 kg of U.S. science equipment, 1,000 kg of Russian logistics, and 120 kg of miscellaneous material were transferred to Mir. Returned to Earth aboard Atlantis were 570 kg of U.S. science material, 405 kg of Russian logistics and 98 kg of miscellaneous material. At 02:16 GMT January 19, Atlantis separated from Mir after picking up John Blaha, who had arrived aboard STS-79 on September 19, 1996, and dropping off Jerry Linenger, who was to stay aboard Mir for over four months. The Shuttle backed off along the -RBAR (i.e. toward the Earth) to a distance of 140 m before beginning a flyaround at 02:31 GMT. Most of the flyaround was at a distance from Mir of 170 m. The first 'orbit' around Mir was complete at 03:15, and the second was completed at 04:02 GMT. Then the Orbiter fired its jets to drift away from the orbit of Mir. NASA's first Shuttle mission of 1997 came to a close with a landing at the Kennedy Space Center at 14:22 GMT on January 22 (after the first opportunity was waved off due to cloud cover at the Cape).

1997 January 14 - .
  • Mir News 340: Atlantis/Mir - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir NASA-2; Mir EO-22; STS-81; Mir NASA-3. Atlantis (mission STS-81) has been launched on 12.01.1997 at 09.27.33 UTC for her 5th docking mission. At 0950 UTC Atlantis was within our range and commander Baker could be heard on 259.700 Mc AM/W in a short contact with Houston via Zaragossa in Spain. The rendezvous operations will begin on 14.01.1997 at 2212 UTC. Atlantis arrives near Mir on 15.01 at 0247 UTC and will dock 15.01 at 0353 UTC. Let us hope that the docking will take place a few minutes earlier for the window during the first pass of both enormous objects within our range will close at 0352 UTC. Hard mate will take place on 15.01 at 0427 UTC and the hatches will be opened on 15.01 at 0537 UTC. John Blaha will conclude his experimental activities on board Mir with some experiments related to the docking and immediately thereafter he will be relieved by Jerry Linenger. Blaha will remain in space for a while as payload specialist on board Atlantis and Linenger will continue his flight as 2d Board Engineer/researcher in Mir.

    Radio traffic: If they stick to the same frequencies as in the past we can expect radio traffic on 121.750, 130.165 and 143.625 Mc. Extensive use of the American TDRS-s after the docking van be expected. Possibly the Russians will now and then use their (almost) geostationary satellites Altair-1 and 2. During the 4th docking mission (STS-79 in Sept. 1996, most communications took place via the American TDRS-s.

    Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202.


1997 January 15 - .
  • Mir News 341: Atlantis links up with Mir - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir NASA-2; Mir EO-22; STS-81; Mir NASA-3. The soft docking took place on 15.01.1997 at 03.54.57 UTC so almost 2 minutes later than planned. Radio communications revealed that Houston preferred to perform the docking when both objects were in daylight. In comparison with the last docking mission (STS-79) there was more radio traffic on the Mir-frequencies. This had been caused by some problems the Shuttle had with communications with Houston. During the first pass of both objects in Mir's orbit nr. 62313 the approach was in its final phase. At 035106 UTC Korzun reported that the 'final approach' was going on, that permission for the docking had been given and that the distance between Mir and Atlantis was abt 6.5 Meters. During the next pass over here in orb. 62314 again a lot of radio traffic conducted by Korzun and Blaha. Blaha told his 'successor' Linenger that Houston had asked to inform Atlantis that they had to connect an antenna for communications with Houston. The Mir crew was in the SO (docking compartment at the Kristall module) and had already opened the hatch from that side. This had taken place at 052918 UTC. The opening of the hatch between Shuttle and Mir was far behind schedule due the above mentioned communication problems. In the SO the Mir-trio was cutting capers and making gestures to urge Baker to open the hatch. The permission to open that hatch should have been given at 054321 UTC. Possibly they wished to blow a lot of fresh air in the fusty Mir-atmosphere before opening. At last the hatch swung open at 055754 UTC and Baker and Korzun met each other and he and the rest of the Shuttle crew invaded Mir. After the welcome ceremony the first activity was the transfer of the seat liner for Linengers place in the Soyuz-TM24. When this work had been accomplished Linenger was a crew member of Mir. Officially this was at 0945 UTC. In orbit 62315 Mir communicated with TsUP Moscow via Altair-1. In the beginning they transmitted recordings of the approaching Atlantis and later on images of both crews in Mir. After the transmission of images they continued this contact with speech. In this period the huge Atlantis/Mir combination could be seen passing almost through the zenith as a very clear star. This was at 070012 UTC.

    Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202.


1997 January 20 - .
  • Mir News 342: Atlantis/Mir - . Nation: Russia. Program: Mir. Flight: Mir NASA-2; Mir EO-22; STS-81; Mir NASA-3. During the period in which Atlantis and Mir were linked together the American TDRS-facilities were in use for the bulk of radio communications, thus anticipating the communication procedures of the future International Space Station Alpha. The Russians used their facilities only to discuss matters regarding the Mir-complex itself. With a few exceptions the Atlantis also took care for the movements (attitude) control of the huge space combination.

    Atlantis separated from the Mir:

    Atlantis undocked from the Mir on 20.01.1997 at 02.15.44 UTC. At 0357 UTC the engines of the Atlantis gave the separation burn for the ride home. After the undocking Atlantis remained in the free drift until the distance permitted firing of steering rockets. During the 2 flights of Atlantis around the Mir-complex no images have been transmitted from Mir. These had been recorded and transmitted to Earth later that day via Altair-1. Among them good images, for instance Atlantis flying away from under a Mir solar panel and several views of Atlantis moving away with a sight of the Earth in the background.

    Soyuz-TM25: The next important operation will be the launch of Soyuz-TM25 from Baykonur on 10.02.1997 at 1409 UTC. Soyuz-TM25 will bring the 23d Main Expedition (Tsibliyev and Lazutkin) and the German astronaut Ewald to the Mir. (Stand-in crew: Musabayev, Budarin and Schlegel)

    Chris v.d. Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202.


1997 January 22 - .
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