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May 1, 1997

Debra Rahn / Michael Braukus
Headquarters, Washington, DC
(Phone: 202/358-1639)

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

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

Release: N97-31


May 15 Selected for Sixth Shuttle-Mir Mission Launch

NASA managers today set May 15 as the official launch date for Space Shuttle Atlantis' sixth docking with Russia's Space Station Mir following completion of the Flight Readiness Review at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC), FL.

The STS-84 launch window opens at about 3:08 a.m. CDT and extends for approximately seven minutes. The actual opening of the window may vary by a couple of minutes based on the Shuttle's rendezvous requirements and Mir's precise location in space at the time of launch. An on-time launch May 15 will result in Atlantis landing at about 6:49 a.m. CDT, Saturday, May 24, at KSC, completing nine days in space.

"We have just completed a comprehensive review of the STS-84 mission," said Johnson Space Center Director George Abbey, who chaired the meeting. "Together with our Russian partners, we reviewed the status of Atlantis and the Mir station and have agreed that everything is ready to proceed with the next docking mission. We look forward to welcoming Jerry Linenger home after his stay on Mir and also look forward to watching Mike Foale continue our cooperative efforts and joint science experiments on the station."

STS-84 is the sixth in a series of docking missions between the Shuttle and Mir and the third involving the exchange of American astronauts. Linenger, who has been a Mir crew member since January 15, will be replaced by Foale, who then will spend more than four months on the station before returning to Earth on the STS-86 Atlantis/Mir docking mission in September.


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