The drag chute is jettisoned as the orbiter Atlantis swoops down on Runway 15 of KSC's Shuttle Landing Facility at 8:13:15 a.m. EDT, September 26, bringing to a successful conclusion U.S. astronaut Shannon Lucid's record- setting, 188-day stay in space. Lucid's approximately six-month stay aboard the Russian Space Station Mir establishes a new U.S. record for long-duration spaceflight and also is the longest for a woman, surpassing Russian cosmonaut Elena Kondakova's 169-day stay on Mir. Lucid returns to Earth with the flight crew of Mission STS-79: Commander William F. Readdy; Pilot Terrence W. Wilcutt; and Mission Specialists Thomas D. Akers, Jay Apt and Carl E. Walz. Succeeding her aboard Mir for an approximately four-month stay is fellow veteran astronaut John E. Blaha, who traveled to the station with the STS-79 flight crew. The STS-79 mission is part of the NASA/Mir program which is now into the Phase 1B portion, consisting of nine Shuttle-Mir dockings and seven long-duration flights of U.S. astronauts aboard the Russian space station between early 1996 and late 1998. (Photo Release Date: 09/26/96 )
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