The Space Shuttle Atlantis turns night into day for a few moments as it lifts off on May 15 at 4:07:48 a.m. EDT from Launch Pad 39A on the STS-84 mission. The fourth Shuttle mission of 1997 will be the sixth docking of the Space Shuttle with the Russian Space Station Mir. The commander is Charles J. Precourt. The pilot is Eileen Marie Collins. The five mission specialists are C. Michael Foale, Carlos I. Noriega, Edward Tsang Lu, Jean-Francois Clervoy of the European Space Agency and Elena V. Kondakova of the Russian Space Agency. The planned nine-day mission will include the exchange of Foale for U.S. astronaut and Mir 23 crew member Jerry M. Linenger, who has been on Mir since Jan. 15. Linenger transferred to Mir during the last docking mission, STS-81; he will return to Earth on Atlantis. Foale is slated to remain on Mir for about four months until he is replaced in September by STS-86 Mission Specialist Wendy B. Lawrence. During the five days Atlantis is scheduled to be docked with the Mir, the STS-84 crew and the Mir 23 crew, including two Russian cosmonauts, Commander Vasily Tsibliev and Flight Engineer Alexander Lazutkin, will participate in joint experiments. The STS-84 mission also will involve the transfer of more than 7,300 pounds of water, logistics and science equipment to and from the Mir. Atlantis is carrying a nearly 300-pound oxygen generator to replace one of two Mir units which have experienced malfunctions. The oxygen it generates is used for breathing by the Mir crew. (Photo Release Date: 05/15/97 )

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