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Astronaut and medical doctor Scott Parazynski was a crewmember on STS-86, the seventh shuttle mission to dock with Mir.
On this flight, Parazynski conducted a spacewalk with veteran Russian flyer Vladimir Titov, who was the first cosmonaut to perform an EVA in a U.S. spacesuit. The two spent five hours executing a variety of tasks, including the retrieval of four experiment packages deployed on STS-76 when the shuttle was docked with Mir, as well as a test of the Simplified Aid for EVA Rescue (SAFER).
STS-86 began on September 25, 1997, when the Space Shuttle Atlantis launched with Parazynski and his 7 crewmates, including astronaut David Wolf. Wolf remained on Mir for his 4-month residency. The rest of the crew returned to Earth on October 6 with astronaut Michael Foale, who had spent 4 ½ months on the station.
Parazynski had also expected to spend several months on Mir himself, having trained for five months at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia. He was a backup for the third increment with the expectation that he would later serve as a prime crewmember. However, in March of 1995, Parazynski was deemed too tall to fit into the Soyuz capsule, which would be used as an escape vehicle in case of an emergency, and he was withdrawn from Mir training.
Additionally, Parazynski flew on STS-66 in 1994 and on STS-95 in October and November of 1998 with one of his heroes, legendary astronaut John Glenn. In an interview prior to his flight on STS-95, Parazynski discussed flying with Glenn, his own NASA career, and his optimism for the future of human spaceflight:
"I think it's a wonderful time to be alive. We're doing remarkable things in space as well as here on the ground. If someone would have told me when I became an astronaut, back in 1992, that someday I would fly up to a Russian space station and do a space walk with a Russian cosmonaut, or that one day I would fly with my hero, John Glenn, into space, that would have certainly been considered science fiction - impossible. So I think it bodes very well for the future - [towards] international cooperation aboard the International Space Station, and more long-range, towards returning to the moon and [going to] Mars.... I think all of these things are possible, and they will happen."
Parazynski was selected to become an astronaut in 1992 and completed his training in 1993. Prior to his NASA career, Parazynski earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Stanford University and graduated with honors from Stanford Medical School. His served his medical internship at the Brigham and Women's Hospital of Harvard Medical School and completed 22 months of a residency program in emergency medicine in Denver, Colorado. Links: NASA Biography: Scott Parazynski
NASA Biography: Scott Parazynski
Scott Parazynski video (15 sec.) MPEG (1.1M) (No Audio)
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