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Elena Kondakova was the seventh Russian cosmonaut to fly on an American space shuttle. She served as mission specialist on STS-84, the sixth shuttle mission to dock with the Mir.
STS-84 marked Kondakova's second trip to Mir. During her first visit, which lasted 169 days, she was part of the crew that greeted NASA astronaut Norm Thagard when he began his stay as the first American on the Russian space station. She was also onboard Mir to view STS-63 as it rendezvoused (but did not dock) with Mir.
Mike Foale flew with Kondakova on STS-84, and shared the following in his Oral History: "[Elena] had described how she had felt as we flew away without actually docking on STS-63, how disappointed they were, how wonderful it was, and how unexpectedly beautiful it was when the shuttle came up."
Kondakova graduated from Moscow Bauman High Technical College and went to work for RSC Energia in 1980. She became a test cosmonaut in 1990.
NASA Biography: Elena Kondakova
Elena V. Kondakova video (16 sec.) MPEG (1.2M) (No Audio)
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Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty