In February, during NASA's STS-63 mission, the space shuttle Discovery approaches (encounters) the Russian Mir space station as a prelude to the development of the International Space Station. Astronaut Eileen Marie Collins serves as the first female shuttle pilot.

On March 14, the Russians launch the Soyuz TM-21 spacecraft to the Mir space station from the Baikanour Cosmodrome. The crew of three includes American astronaut Norman Thagard—the first American to travel into outer space on a Russian rocket and the first to stay on the Mir space station. The Soyuz TM-21 cosmonauts also relieve the previous Mir crew, including cosmonaut Valeri Polyakov, who returns to Earth on March 22 after setting a world record for remaining in space for 438 days.

In late June, NASA's space shuttle Atlantis docks with the Russian Mir space station for the first time. During this shuttle mission (STS-71), Atlantis delivers the Mir 19 crew (cosmonauts Anatoly Solovyev and Nikolai Budarin) to the Russian space station and then returns the Mir 18 crew back to Earth—including American astronaut Norman Thagard, who has just spent 115 days in space onboard the Mir. The Shuttle-Mir docking program is the first phase of the International Space Station. A total of nine shuttle-Mir docking missions will occur between 1995 and 1998

Telescopes Mastery

Telescopes Mastery

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