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Shuttle-Mir Stories - Blaha on Launch and Docking

In a Mir-22 mission summary, U.S. Mir astronaut John Blaha writes about his launch and arrival at Mir:

"On September 16 I launched aboard the Atlantis spaceship; destination -- the Russian Mir Space Station. I felt our three main engines roaring. Six seconds later the solid rocket boosters ignited and off we went, up the familiar hill to space. I could feel the vibrations from all the engines as our four million pound vehicle accelerated towards space. Eight and a half minutes after liftoff, the main engines cut off and we were in Orbit. Incredible!

"Four days later, I watched the STS-79 crew skillfully dock with the Mir Space Station. They were a very professional crew, paying attention to every detail. When we were 20 miles from the Mir it appeared as a bright glowing star. From five miles out to docking I looked at this absolutely beautiful, shining Mir Space Station. For 18 months I had studied many things at the Russian Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City. I really misjudged the beauty that was now in front of me. It looked like a very new Space Station."

Related Links:
Blaha Increment
Profile: John Blaha
John Blaha Oral History (PDF)
Rendezvous and Docking

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Curator: Kim Dismukes
Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty