From Academic Kids

STS-79 is a Space Shuttle program mission.

Space Shuttle program
Mission Insignia

Mission Statistics
Launch Pad: 39-A
Launch:September 16, 1996. 4:54:49.048 am
Landing: KSC September 26, 1996 at 8:13:20am EDT. Runway 15.
Duration:10 days, 3 hours, 19 minutes, 28 seconds.
Orbit Altitude:196 to 245 statute miles (315 to 394 km)
Orbit Inclination:51.6 degrees
Distance Traveled:3.9 million miles (6.3 million km)
Crew photo
Missing image

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Launched and stayed on Mir

Landed and returned from Mir

Mission Parameters

4th Mir docking mission

Mission Highlights

The 4th rendezvous and docking with the Russian Mir space station and the exchange of astronauts -- including the holder of the world record for longest space flight ever by a U.S. astronaut -- will highlight the flight of Space Shuttle Atlantis on Mission STS-79. This is the fourth of nine planned missions to Mir between 1995 and 1998 and the first exchange of astronauts. Astronaut Shannon W. Lucid, who has been on Mir since late March, will be replaced on Mir by astronaut John E. Blaha. Blaha will spend more than four months on Mir. He will return to Earth on Space Shuttle Mission STS-81, scheduled for launch in January 1997.

STS-79 is the second Shuttle-Mir mission to carry a SPACEHAB module on board, and the first to carry a double module. The forward portion of the double module will house experiments conducted by the crew before, during and after Atlantis is docked to the Russian space station. The aft portion of the double module primarily houses the logistics equipment to be transferred to the Russian space station. Logistics include food, clothing, experiment supplies, and spare equipment for Mir.

STS-79 highlighted by return to Earth of U.S. astronaut Lucid after 188 days in space, first U.S. crew exchange aboard Russian Space Station Mir, and fourth Shuttle-Mir docking. Lucid’s long-duration spaceflight set new U.S. record as well as world record for a woman. She embarked to Mir March 22 with STS-76 mission. Succeeding her on Mir for an approximately four-month stay is Blaha, who will return in January 1997 with STS-81 crew; U.S. astronaut Jerry Linenger will replace him.

STS-79 also marked second flight of SPACEHAB module in support of Shuttle-Mir activities and first flight of SPACEHAB Double Module configuration. Shuttle-Mir linkup occurred at 11:13 p.m. EDT, Sept. 18, following R-bar approach. Hatches opened at 1:40 a.m., Sept. 19, and Blaha and Lucid exchanged places at 7 a.m. EDT. Awaiting Blaha on Mir were Valery Korzun, Mir 22 commander, and Alexander Kaleri, flight engineer.

During five days of mated operations, two crews transferred more than 4,000 pounds (1,814 kg) of supplies to Mir, including logistics, food and water generated by orbiter fuel cells. Three experiments also were transferred: Biotechnology System (BTS) for study of cartilage development; Material in Devices as Superconductors (MIDAS) to measure electrical properties of high-temperature superconductor materials; and Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus (CGBA), containing several smaller experiments, including self-contained aquatic systems.

About 2,000 pounds (907 kg) of experiment samples and equipment transferred from Mir to Atlantis; total logistical transfer to and from station of more than 6,000 pounds (2,722 kg) was most extensive to date. During her approximately six-month stay on Mir, Lucid conducted research in following fields: advanced technology, Earth sciences, fundamental biology, human life sciences, microgravity research and space sciences. Specific experiments included: Environmental Radiation Measurements to ascertain ionizing radiation levels aboard Mir; Greenhouse-Integrated Plant Experiments, to study effect of microgravity on plants, specifically dwarf wheat; and Assessment of Humoral Immune Function During Long-Duration Space Flight, to gather data on effect of long-term spaceflight on the human immune system and involving collection of blood serum and saliva samples. Some research conducted in newest and final Mir module, Priroda, which arrived at station during Lucid’s stay.

Three experiments remained on Atlantis: Extreme Temperature Translation Furnace (ETTF), a new furnace design allowing space-based processing up to 871 degrees Fahrenheit (1,600 degrees Celsius) and above; Commercial Protein Crystal Growth (CPCG) complement of 128 individual samples involving 12 different proteins; and Mechanics of Granular Materials, designed to further understanding of behavior of cohesionless granular materials, which could in turn lead to better understanding of how Earth’s surface responds during earthquakes and landslides.

As with all Shuttle-Mir flights, risk-mitigation experiments were conducted to help reduce development risk for the International Space Station. Flying for first time was the Active Rack Isolation System (ARIS), an experiment rack designed to cushion payloads from vibration and other disturbances.

Conducted near end of flight was test using orbiter’s small vernier jets to lower Atlantis’ orbit. Similar maneuver may be employed at end of second Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission, STS-82, to re-boost Hubble to a higher orbit while still in orbiter payload bay

8/20/96 rollout of Shuttle Alantis from VAB for STS-79 mission.(NASA)
8/20/96 rollout of Shuttle Alantis from VAB for STS-79 mission.(NASA)

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