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The first Shuttle-Mir flight for mission specialist Wendy Lawrence began on September 25, 1997, when the Space Shuttle Atlantis launched with the crew of STS-86 on the seventh shuttle flight to dock with Mir. This mission brought astronaut David Wolf to the station for his residency.
Lawrence was to have remained on the Mir herself, having trained for the increment from September 1996, until July 1997, at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia. However, she was replaced by Wolf when conditions on the outpost made spacewalking on the Mir a requirement. Although cleared to serve on the Mir, Lawrence was not certified to conduct extravehicular activities because she was too small to fit into the Russian Orlan spacesuit.
The STS-86 crew returned to Earth on October 6, 1997, with astronaut Michael Foale, who had spent 4 ½ months on Mir.
Lawrence flew on a second Shuttle-Mir docking mission when the Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off on June 2, 1998. The ninth and last time the Shuttle linked with Mir, Lawrence and the crew of STS-91 returned to Earth on June 12, 1998, with Andrew Thomas, the last astronaut to have spent a residency on the station.
Regarding STS-91, Lawrence said she served "as the flight engineer during ascent entry, and then while we were docked, I was in charge of all the transfers, so you can imagine during the dock time frame, I was very busy making sure that we got our 6,000 pounds of logistics transferred between the two vehicles."
Lawrence also supported Phase 1 as a Director of Operations in Star City, Russia. As a DOR, she was responsible for the coordination and implementation of Phase 1 mission operation activities between Russia and NASA.
Lawrence became an astronaut in 1993. She earned a Bachelor of Science in ocean engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy and a Master of Science in ocean engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. She was designated as a naval aviator in July 1982, and has more than 1,500 hours flight time in six different types of helicopters and has made more than 800 shipboard landings.
NASA Biography: Wendy Lawrence
Wendy Lawrence Oral History (PDF)
Wendy Lawrence video (14 sec.) MPEG (971K) (No Audio)
U.S. Mir Residents | Astronauts | Cosmonauts | Teams | Oral Histories | Shuttle-Mir Stories
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Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty