The Space Shuttle Atlantis transforms the early morning at KSC into near-daylight as its more than 7 million pounds of rocket thrust propels it from Launch Pad 39B at 4:27:23 a.m. EST Jan. 12 on its way to dock with the Mir space station for the fifth time.The 10-day mission will feature the transfer of Mission Specialist Jerry Linenger to Mir to replace astronaut John Blaha, who has been on the orbital laboratory since Sept. 19, 1996. The other STS-81 crew members include Mission Commander Michael A. Baker; Pilot Brent W. Jett, Jr.; and Mission Specialists John M. Grunsfeld, Peter J. K. "Jeff" Wisoff and Marsha S. Ivins. During the five-day docking operations, the Shuttle and Mir crews will conduct risk mitigation, human life science, microgravity and materials processing experiments that will provide data for the design, development and operation of the International Space Station. The primary payload is the SPACEHAB-DM double module that will provide space for more than 2,000 pounds of hardware, food and water that will be transferred into the Russian space station. The SPACEHAB will also be used to return experiment samples from the Mir to Earth for analysis and for microgravity experiments during the mission. (Photo Release Date: 1/12/97 )

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STS-81 KSC Photo IndexNext Image KSC-97EC-0149

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