STS-76

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STS-76
STS76 Atlantis Launch.jpg
Space Shuttle Atlantis heads towards Earth orbit from Launch Complex 39B
Mission type Shuttle-Mir
Operator NASA
COSPAR ID 1996-018A
SATCAT № 23831
Mission duration 9 days, 5 hours, 16 minutes, 48 seconds
Distance travelled 6,100,000 kilometres (3,800,000 mi) estimated
Orbits completed 145
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft Space Shuttle Atlantis
Launch mass 111,740 kilograms (246,340 lb)
Landing mass 95,396 kilograms (210,312 lb)
Payload mass 6,753 kilograms (14,888 lb)
Crew
Crew size 6 up
5 down
Members Kevin P. Chilton
Richard A. Searfoss
Ronald M. Sega
Michael R. Clifford
Linda M. Godwin
Launching Shannon Lucid
Start of mission
Launch date 22 March 1996, 08:13:04 (1996-03-22UTC08:13:04Z) UTC
Launch site Kennedy LC-39B
End of mission
Landing date 31 March 1996, 13:28:57 (1996-03-31UTC13:28:58Z) UTC
Landing site Edwards Runway 22
Orbital parameters
Reference system Geocentric
Regime Low Earth
Perigee 389 kilometres (242 mi)
Apogee 411 kilometres (255 mi)
Inclination 51.6 degrees
Period 92.5 min
Docking with Mir
Docking port SO starboard
Docking date 24 March 1996, 02:34:05 UTC
Undocking date 29 March 1996, 01:08:03 UTC
Time docked 4 days, 22 hours, 33 minutes, 58 seconds

Sts-76-patch.png STS-76 crew.jpg
Left to right - Front: Sega, Chilton, Searfoss; Back: Clifford, Lucid, Godwin.


Space Shuttle program
← STS-75 STS-77

STS-76 was NASA's 76th Space Shuttle mission, and the 16th mission for Atlantis. STS-76 launched on 22 March 1996 at 3:13 am EST (UTC −5) from Kennedy Space Center launch pad 39B. STS-76 lasted over 9 days, traveled about 3,800,000 miles (6,100,000 km) while orbiting Earth an estimated 145 times, and landing at 5:28 am PST (UTC −8) on 31 March 1996 at Edwards Air Force Base runway 22.

The flight was the third Shuttle mission to dock with the Russian Space Station Mir, as part of the Shuttle-Mir Program, carrying astronaut Shanon Lucid to the orbital laboratory to replace NASA astronaut Norm Thagard. STS-76 also carried a SPACEHAB single module along with Lucid, and on flight day 6 Linda Godwin and Michael R. Clifford performed the first U.S. spacewalk around two docked spacecraft.

Crew[edit]

Position Launching Astronaut Landing Astronaut
Commander Kevin P. Chilton
Third spaceflight
Pilot Richard A. Searfoss
Second spaceflight
Mission Specialist 1 Ronald M. Sega
Second spaceflight
Mission Specialist 2 Michael R. Clifford
Third spaceflight
Mission Specialist 3 Linda M. Godwin
Third spaceflight
Mission Specialist 4 Shannon Lucid
EO-21
Fifth spaceflight
None

Spacewalks[edit]

  • Godwin and Clifford – EVA 1
  • EVA 1 Start: 27 March 1996 – 06:34 UTC
  • EVA 1 End: 27 – 12 March:36 UTC
  • Duration: 6 hours, 02 minutes

Mission highlights[edit]

Third linkup between U.S. Space Shuttle and Russian Space Station Mir highlighted by transfer of veteran astronaut Shannon Lucid to Mir to become first American woman to live on station. Her approximately four-and-a-half month stay also eclipsed long-duration U.S. spaceflight record set by first American to live on Mir, Norm Thagard. Lucid was succeeded by astronaut John Blaha during STS-79 in August, giving her distinction of membership in four different flight crews—two U.S. and two Russian—and her stay on Mir kicked off continuous U.S. presence in space for the next two years.

Payload bay configuration included Orbiter Docking System in forward area and SPACEHAB single module toward the aft. STS-76 marked first flight of SPACEHAB pressurized module to support Shuttle-Mir dockings; single module primarily served as stowage area for large supply of equipment slated for transfer to space station, but also carried European Space Agency’s Biorack experiment rack for on-orbit research.

Astronaut Linda Godwin translates along the longeron of Atlantis' cargo bay starboard side during EVA1.
Atlantis lands at the Edwards Air Force Base on 31 March 1996.

Atlantis hooked up with Mir on flight day three, following same R-bar approach employed on STS-74. Actual connection between Orbiter Docking System and Docking Module attached to Kristall module docking port occurred at 9:34 pm EST, 24 March. Hatches opened a little less than two hours later. Awaiting Atlantis' arrival were Mir 21 Commander Yuri Onufrienko and Flight Engineer Yuri Usachev, who were launched to Mir on 21 February. In July, they were joined by Mir 22 Commander Valeri Korzun, Flight Engineer Alexander Kaleri and CNES astronaut Claudie Andre-Deshays. After two-week stay, Andre-Deshays would return to Earth with Onufrienko and Usachev while Korzun and Kaleri remained on board with Lucid.

During five days of docked operations, about 1,500 pounds (680 kilograms) of water and two tons of scientific equipment, logistical material and resupply items transferred to Mir; experiment samples and miscellaneous equipment brought over to orbiter. In Biorack, 11 separate scientific investigations were conducted. Study topics included effect of microgravity and cosmic radiation on plants, tissues, cells, bacteria and insects and effects of microgravity on bone loss. Also transferred to station were Mir Glovebox Stowage (MGBX) equipment to replenish glovebox already on station; Queen’s University Experiment in Liquid Diffusion (QUELD) flown in orbiter middeck locker; and High Temperature Liquid Phase Sintering (LPS) experiment.

On flight day six, Godwin and Clifford conducted first U.S. extravehicular activity (EVA) around two mated spacecraft. During six-hour, two-minute, 28-second EVA, they attached four Mir Environmental Effects Payload (MEEP) experiments to station’s Docking Module. Experiments designed to characterize environment around Mir over an 18-month period. Godwin and Clifford wore Simplified Aid for EVA Rescue (SAFER) propulsive devices first flight-tested during STS-64.

Other payloads: Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment (SAREX); KidSat, a project that gives middle school students opportunity to participate in space exploration; and Trapped Ions in Space (TRIS), a Naval Research Laboratory experiment flown in Get Away Special canister in cargo bay.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.