David Wolf - Letters Home

David Wolf arrived on Mir on September 27 to start his four-month stint aboard the Russian Space Station. He got there as a result of serendipity, accident, and anguished deliberations. He was back-up to Wendy Lawrence who was originally scheduled to take this Mir increment; Wolf was scheduled to replace her in January. But when the collision with the Progress resupply vessel occurred, it was decided that the American astronaut onboard Mir should be EVA qualified. Lawrence is too small to fit into the Russian Orlan spacesuit, and so Wolf was called upon to go in her place.

The events on Mir in the last few months, dating back to the fire that Jerry Lingenger had to deal with and continuing with the collision with the Progress, and the depressurization and loss of power, had caused a great deal of concern among the public, elected officials in Washington, and NASA personnel. Right up to the eve of the launch of STS-86 on September 25, it was not certain that Wolf would get to stay on the Mir. But several committees evaluated all the data, and on the morning of the launch, Daniel Goldin, NASA Administrator, announced that it was safe for Wolf to live and work on Mir.

Here are David Wolf's letters home.

October 6, 1997 - Getting settled in on Mir
October 21, 1997 - Progress supply ship docking
October 31, 1997 - My mother would be proud of me
November 7, 1997 - Next time, I will bring a good book
November 14, 1997 - Little things mean a lot up here
December 22, 1997 - The Great Blackcurrant Jelly Juice Spill