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For Release: March 26, 1996

Catherine E. Watson
(804) 864-6122

Release No. 96-022

NOTE TO EDITORS:

Spacewalking Astronauts to Install NASA Experiment on Mir March 27

Beginning at approximately 1:30 a.m. EST March 27, two astronauts aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis (STS-76) will attach the Mir Environmental Effects Payload (MEEP) to the Russian space station Mir. MEEP, managed by NASA's Langley Research Center, will study the frequency and effects of space debris striking the Mir space station.

Atlantis astronauts Godwin and Clifford will work for more than five hours to attach the four MEEP experiment containers to the Mir shuttle docking module. Live TV coverage of the spacewalk will be available on NASA TV, via the Spacenet-2 satellite system, transponder 5, 69 degrees west longitude, frequency 3880.0 MHz, audio 6.8 MHz.

MEEP will also expose selected and proposed international space station materials to the effects of space and orbital debris. Because the international space station will be placed in approximately the same Earth orbit as Mir, flying MEEP aboard Mir will give researchers an opportunity to test materials for the international Space Station in a comparable orbital position. MEEP will remain attached to Mir until late 1997, when the four experiment containers will be retrieved by another space shuttle crew (STS-86) and returned to Earth for study.

A MEEP fact sheet, color photos, and b-roll video are available, as are interviews with the MEEP project manager. For more information please contact the NASA Langley Research Center Office of Public Affairs at (804) 864-6122 or view the MEEP home page on the World Wide Web at:

http://spocls.larc.nasa.gov/meep/meep.html

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