Mir operations in 1996


A Russian cosmonaut and a European cosmonaut conduct a spacewalk aboard Mir on Feb. 8, 1996.

Missions to Mir in 1996:

Feb. 21
Sept. 2
Soyuz TM-23
Yuri Onufrienko, Yuri Usachev
March 22
March 31
Kevin P. Chilton, Richard A. Searfoss, Ronald M. Sega, Michael R. Clifford, Linda M. Godwin, Shannon W. Lucid (ret. STS-79)
April 23
2001 March 23
May 5
Aug. 1
Progress M-31
July 31
Nov. 20
Progress M-32
Aug. 17
1997 March 2
Soyuz TM-24
Valery Korzun, Alexander Kaleri, Claudie Andre-Deshays (France) (ret. Soyuz-TM-23)
Sept. 16
Sept. 26
William F. Readdy, Terrence W. Wilcutt, Jerome Apt, Thomas D. Akers, Carl E. Walz, John E. Blaha (ret. STS-81)
Nov. 20
1997 Feb. 6
Progress M-33

*Deorbit date for Progress vehicles and Mir modules

**Members of long-term (EO) expeditions are shown in bold

(Sources: 161, 52)

Expedition 21 (EO-21)

On February 29, 1996, the 20th expedition landed after its expedition to Mir. A week earlier, the 21st expedition, including Yuri Onufrienko and Yuri Usachev, boarded Mir.

On March 24, The Shuttle Atlantis docked to the newly installed docking compartment of the Mir space station. With Shuttle's arrival, the US astronaut Shannon Lucid boarded Mir for what turned out to be a 179-day mission, which for several years remained a longest space flight for a NASA astronaut. Lucid's arrival started two years of uninterrupted presence of US astronauts onboard the Russian space station.

In September 1996, during another Shuttle visit to Mir, John Blaha replaced Lucid as NASA representative onboard the Russian outpost, completing a 118-day mission.

A decade-long construction of the Mir space station was concluded with the arrival of the Priroda module to the station's front end on April 26, 1996. With its successful transfer to the Mir's peripheral port a day later, no "vacant" docking ports remained on the original core module of the Mir space station. The new module brought a batch of US and European scientific payloads, as well as Russian remote-sensing hardware to Mir.


The Mir space station complete with all its modules, as it was seen at the end of the STS-79 mission in September 1996. Credit: NASA