The chase to catch up with the Russian Space Station Mir gets under way with an on-time liftoff, as the Space Shuttle Atlantis hurtles skyward from Launch Pad 39B at 3:13:04 a.m. EST, March 22. On board for Mission STS-76 -- also the 76th Shuttle flight -- are a crew of six: Mission Commander Kevin P. Chilton; Pilot Richard A. Searfoss; Payload Commander Ronald M. Sega; and Mission Specialists Michael Richard "Rich" Clifford, Linda M. Godwin, and Shannon W. Lucid. During the course of the planned nine-day flight, Atlantis will rendezvous and dock with Mir for athe third time. Lucid will transfer to the station for an approximately four-and-a-half month stay, becoming the first American woman to live on Mir. In addition, Godwin and Clifford will perform an extravehicular activity later in the mission, the first around the mated Atlantis-Mir assembly. (Photo Release Date: 3/22/96 )
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