In a December 13, 1996, "Letter Home," U.S. Mir astronaut John Blaha describes the arrival of an unmanned Progress supply vehicle.
Blaha writes: "About ten minutes after the [old] Progress undocked, we could visually see it at about 100 meters, through a large window in the floor of the base block. It was beautiful to watch this big beautiful machine with solar panels--they looked like airplane wings--pull away and finally disappear.
"Twenty-four hours later we were eagerly awaiting the arrival of the new Progress. I was in the Kvant-2 module looking through one of the small windows. I finally saw the Progress at a distance of 30 kilometers. It was a shinning star rising towards us at great speed from beneath the horizon. This was an incredible sight . There we were approaching the terminator on planet earth, and this "beaming" shining star was roaring towards us.
"Then all of a sudden, the light from the Progress extinguished as we passed into the shade of the Earth. Five seconds later, four lights on the Progress were turned on. I watched the remainder of the rendezvous through a tiny window in the aft end of the Kvant module; right at the point where the docking would occur. Again, Valeri was monitoring the event with his backup control system in the base block of Mir. The docking felt quite firm. Five times stronger than I remembered the shuttle docking with Mir felt over two months ago."
Profile: John Blaha
John Blaha Oral History (PDF)
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