Two Russian cosmonauts who landed in the US onboard Shuttle Atlantis apparently had no entry visa, and could be considered first space aliens.
Missions to Mir in 1995:
*Deorbit date for Progress vehicles and Mir modules
**Members of long-term (EO) expeditions are shown in bold
Expedition 18-19 (EO-18-19)
The 17th long-term crew of Mir, including Alexander Viktorenko, Elena Kondakova and Valery Polyakov met 1995 onboard the station.
At the beginning of February 1995, the Shuttle Discovery flying the STS-63 mission, approached Mir, testing the rendezvous maneuvers for future visits of the US orbiters to the Russian outpost. No docking, however, was planned during STS-63.
The 18th expedition arrived to Mir on March 16 and included Norman Thagard, the first US astronaut to be launched onboard the Russian spacecraft.
On April 19, the crew used the station's small airlock to launch a 20-kilogram GFZ-1 micro-satellite for the Sfera (sphere) experiment in the field of geophysics.
On June 29, the trio received visitors from the Shuttle Atlantis, the first US reusable orbiter to dock with the space station. The Atlantis dropped two Russian cosmonauts for a long-term stay onboard Mir and picked up Dezhurov, Strekalov in Thagard, who landed safely in the US, despite apparent absence of entry visas.
Prior to the departure of the Shuttle from Mir, the fresh long-term crew of the Mir space station boarded the Soyuz spacecraft. Two cosmonauts then undocked their ship and backed away from the station to photograph the historic scenes of the US Shuttle departing Mir. This exercise, proposed by Russian officials, reportedly met some initial resistance on the US side, however it did provide some unique and only opportunity of distant view at two vehicles. Upon its departure from Mir, the crew of STS-71 also witnessed the Soyuz to redock with Mir, again the only case, when such maneuver could be observed.
The 19th crew of the station, dropped by the Shuttle stayed onboard until September 1995.
In November 1995, Atlantis returned to Mir, during the STS-74 mission, delivering a Docking Compartment for the station. The new piece of hardware would facilitate future Shuttle missions to Mir.
Next page: Mir operations in 1996
Through the Mir window, cosmonaut Valery Polyakov looks at the approaching Shuttle Discovery during STS-63 mission, whose crew took this remarkable photo in February 1995. Credit: NASA
A NASA astronaut Norman Thagard photographed his Russian colleagues, working outside of the Mir space station in May 1995. Credit: NASA
The Shuttle Atlantis, photographed from the Soyuz spacecraft, is about to undock from the Mir space station during the STS-71 mission. Credit: NASA
The Soyuz TM-21 spacecraft (left) docks to the Mir space station, as the crew of the Shuttle Atlantis looks on during the STS-71 mission. Credit: NASA TV
The Mir space station photographed by the departing Shuttle crew during the STS-71 mission. Note Kristall module temporarily placed at the front docking port of the core module in order to receive the US Shuttle. Credit: NASA TV