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STS-86 launched with crew member David Wolf on September 25, 1997. He replaced Mir astronaut Michael Foale and joined Mir-24 crewmembers Anatoly Solovyev and Pavel Vinogradov. Wolf had been scheduled to be the final Mir astronaut, but was tapped to go instead of astronaut Wendy Lawrence, who was deemed ineligible due to a change in Mir requirements. After the Progress supply vehicle collision during Mike Foale's residency, it was determined that all Mir residents must be trained and ready for extravehicular activities (EVAs), and an EVA suit could not be prepared for Lawrence in time for launch. Wolf returned to Earth with STS-89, landing on January 31, 1998, after 128 days in space.
With experience as an astronaut, electrical engineer, medical doctor, inventor, and aerobatics pilot, Wolf's science investigations included: Advanced Technology in Microgravity; a Canadian Protein Crystallization Experiment; Biotechnology of 3-D Tissue Engineering; Bone Mineral Loss and Recovery after Shuttle/Mir Flights; Humoral (bone) Immunity; space biology; optical properties; other human life sciences; and the personal interaction among the Mir crew members and between the crew and ground control.
About the risks of going to Mir after the recent collision, Wolf said this in his Oral History: "Personally, I was sure I was going the whole time, and I never had one moment of second thought whatsoever. I did investigate the issues closely. I would never do a suicide mission or even where risk outweighed the benefit. That would have been bad for our agency to do. That would have showed poor judgment. But I carefully went through the issues, and I was absolutely comfortable stepping through the various scenarios and issues and the responses. I never had a second thought. In fact, I became more convinced that we should continue, the more familiar I became with the details of the issues." Wolf also allowed to be published a "Letter from Mir," which discusses many aspects of his Mir residency.
The residency of an American astronaut aboard the Russian space station continued with NASA Astronaut Andy Thomas.
Wolf Letter from Mir
Profile: David Wolf
David Wolf Oral History (PDF)
Ops Lead Patti Moore Oral History (PDF)
Video: STS-86 dock/hatch open
Video: Wolf EVA
Video: Wolf/Mir Lessons Learned
Video: STS-89 Endeavour launch/dock/hatch opening
Video: STS-89 Wolf Mir tour / Thomas hand-over
Video: STS-89 undocking-inside Mir/Shuttle
Wolf on "Flight Docs"
Wolf on Communications
Wolf on Doing "Dirty" Work
Wolf on EVA
Wolf on Increments' Differences
Wolf on Language and ISS
Wolf on Mir Science
Wolf on Replacing Lawrence
Wolf on Training
Wolf on Mir Safety
Shuttle Flights & Mir Increments
Wetherbee Quoting Wolf on Risks
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Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty