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June 2 - 12, 1998
Space Shuttle: Discovery
Crew: Precourt, Gorie, Lawrence, Chang-Diaz, Kavandi, Ryumin
Returning from Mir: Thomas
STS-91 closed out the Shuttle-Mir Program, when it brought back to Earth U.S. Mir astronaut Andy Thomas, after he had spent 130 days on Mir. The transfer wrapped up a total of 907 days spent by seven U.S. astronauts aboard the Russian space station. During the STS-91 mission, the Mir-25 and STS-91 crews transferred more than 1,100 pounds of water to Mir and exchanged almost 4,700 pounds of cargo experiments and supplies between the two spacecraft. Long-term U. S. experiments that had been onboard Mir were moved into Discovery's middeck lockers and the Spacehab Single Module. These items included the Space Acceleration Measurement System (SAMS) and the tissue engineering co-culture (COCULT) investigations, as well as two crystal growth experiments. Additionally, the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) flew for the first time on STS-91. AMS is designed to look for dark and missing matter in the universe. The crews also conducted Risk Mitigation Experiments (RME) and Human Life Sciences (HLS) investigations.
When the hatches closed for undocking at 9:07 a.m. EDT June 8 and the spacecraft separated at 12:01 p.m. EDT that day, the final Shuttle-Mir docking mission was concluded and Phase 1 of the International Space Station (ISS) program came to an end. In his Oral History, Andy Thomas said: "Perhaps one of the most moving moments, though, was as we drew further and further away, we went into the night side of the planet, and I could see stars, and the running lights of the station were on. You couldn't see the station. All you could see was lights flashing, and they were just going off into the distance, these flashing points of light fading out slowly. That was kind of an emotional moment, because I knew that would be the last time I would see it--ever. And that's been the case, too."
STS-91 (KSC Spaceflight Archive)
STS-91: Docking/Transfer/Good-bye to Mir (video)
Shuttle Flights and Mir Increments
Rendezvous and Docking
Mir's "Final" Crew
Charles Precourt Oral History (PDF)
Wendy Lawrence Oral History (PDF)
Andy Thomas Oral History (PDF)
Valery Ryumin Oral History (PDF)
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Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty