KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLA. -- The Space Shuttle orbiter Atlantis makes a smooth touchdown on Runway 15 of the Shuttle Landing Facility, bringing an end to the historic STS-71 mission which featured the first docking between the Space Shuttle and the Russian Mir space station. The chase plane, the Shuttle Training Aircraft flown by Robert D. Cabana, head of the Astronaut Office, is in the upper left of photo. Main gear touchdown of Atlantis was at 10:54:34 a.m. EDT, on July 7, 1995. This was the first of seven scheduled Shuttle/Mir docking missions. The 10-day mission also set the record for having the most people who have flown in an orbiter during a mission: the five U.S. astronauts and two cosmonauts who were launched on Atlantis on June 27, and three space flyers who have been aboard Mir since March 16 and were returned to Earth in Atlantis. The STS-71 crew included Mission Commander Robert L. "Hoot" Gibson, Pilot Charles J. Precourt, Payload Commander Dr. Ellen S. Baker, and Mission Specialists Bonnie J. Dunbar and Gregory J. Harbaugh. Also part of the STS-71 crew were two cosmonauts who comprise the Mir 19 crew -- Mission Commander Anatoly Y. Solovyev and Flight Engineer Nikolai M. Budarin. They transfered to Mir during the four days of docking operations, and remain there. They replaced the Mir 18 crew of U.S. astronaut and cosmonaut researcher Dr. Norman E. Thagard, and cosmonauts Vladimir N. Dezhurov, who served as mission commander, and Gennadiy M. Strekalov, who served as flight engineer. The Mir crew joined the American STS-71 crew members for the return to Earth on Atlantis. (Photo Release Date: 7/7/95 )
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