The Space Shuttle orbiter Atlantis makes a smooth touchdown on Runway
15 of the Shuttle Landing Facility at Kennedy Space Center, 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. 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 Gennady M. Strekalov, who served
as flight engineer. The Mir crew joined the American STS-71 crew members
for the return to Earth on Atlantis.