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September 12, 1997

Debbie Rahn
Headquarters, Washington, DC
(Phone: 202/358-1638)

Bruce Buckingham
Kennedy Space Center, FL
(Phone: 407/867-2468)

Kyle Herring
Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX
(Phone: 281/483-5111)

Release: 97-199

Atlantis' Seventh Mission to Mir Set For Sept. 25

Space Shuttle Program managers today unanimously approved plans for a September 25 launch of the seventh shuttle mission to rendezvous and dock with Russia's Mir Space Station to deliver supplies and return Mike Foale from the outpost following his four month stay.

"Our review today shows that the processing and training teams have done an exceptional job in getting Atlantis and crew ready for this mission," said George Abbey, Director of the Johnson Space Center, who chaired the Flight Readiness Review at the launch site in Florida.

Astronaut Dave Wolf has completed training and is scheduled to replace Michael Foale for a four-month stay on Mir to continue the permanent U.S. presence on the station that began with Shannon Lucid on the STS-76 mission in 1996.

The launch window opens at 9:34 p.m. CDT and closes about 7 minutes later at 9:41 p.m. Following a nominal flight duration of 9 days, 20 hours, 24 minutes, Atlantis is scheduled to land at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida at about 5:58 p.m. CDT, October 5.

In addition to Foale and Wolf, Atlantis' crew includes Commander Jim Wetherbee, Pilot Mike Bloomfield and Mission Specialists Scott Parazynski, Wendy Lawrence, Jean-Loup Chretien and Vladimir Titov. Parazynski and Titov will conduct a spacewalk to retrieve some science experiments from the outside of the station.

STS-86 will be Atlantis' 20th mission into space and the 87th shuttle flight in the program's history -end -


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