STS-71 (69)

Atlantis (14)
Pad 39-A (54)
69th Shuttle Mission
100th US Manned launch
14th Flight OV-104
1st MIR Docking

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Robert L. Gibson (5), Commander
Charles J. Precourt (2), Pilot
Ellen S. Baker (3), Mission Specialist
Bonnie J. Dunbar (4), Mission Specialist
Gregory J. Harbaugh (3), Mission Specialist
Anatoly Solovyev (4), MIR-19 crew upload
Nikolai Budarin (1), MIR-19 crew upload
Norman E. Thagard (5), MIR-18 crew download
Vladimir Dezhurov (1), MIR-18 crew download
Gennadiy Strekalov (6), MIR-18 crew download


OPF -- 11/22/94
VAB -- 04/20/95
PAD -- 04/26/95



Mission Objectives:

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The primary objectives of this flight are to rendezvous and perform the 1st Shuttle docking between the Space Shuttle and the Russian Space Station MIR. Other prime objectives are on-orbit joint United States-Russian life sciences investigations abord SPACELAB/MIR, logistical resupply of the MIR, recovery of US astronaut - Norman E. Thagard and the delivery of two cosmonauts Anatoly Solovyev and Nikolai Budarin to MIR.

Secondary objectives include filming with the IMAX camera and the Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment-II (SAREX-II) experiment.


Launch June 27, 3:32:19.044pm EDT. Launch window was 10 min 19 sec.

On 6/27/95 as of 9:30am EDT, launch commentator Bruce Buckingham reported that the countdown is in progress for a launch during a 10 min window that opens at 3:32pm EDT. The weather forcast is a 60% chance of favorable weather. A launch at the opening of the window would lead to a MIR docking on Thursday, June 29th while a launch in the last 3 minutes of the window will lead to a MIR docking on Friday, June 30th. At 11:21am the crew departed the Operations and Checkout building and arrived at the launch complex LC-39A at 11:34am EDT.

On 6/24/95, at 4:00pm EDT, Shuttle Launch director Jim Harrington announced the launch team scrubbed the launch ofAtlantis due to weather. Unfavorable weather conditions -- including heavy cloud cover and thunderstorms -- forced the decision of the shuttle Mission Management Team after the launch team had fully prepared Atlantis and counted down to the T-minus 9 minute mark. Because weather conditions are not expected to improve over the weekend, the next available opportunity for launch will be on Tuesday, June 27, with a 10min window opening at 3:32.10pm EDT.

On 6/23/95, the launch of Atlantis was postponed due to the inability for tanking operations to commence. Tanking Atlantis involves loading about 500,000 gallons of super-cold liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen into the external tank. Operations to tank were put off from the original start time of 7:45 a.m. due to severe weather and lightning within five miles of the launch pad. Managers delayed tanking as long as possible to still make a launch attempt on 6/23/95 but they were forced to postpone the launch when it became apparent that the weather would not clear in time to tank and launch Atlantis during the short seven-minute window that opened at 5:08p.m.

The STS-71 launch was previously targeted for 5:08:37 p.m. EDT at the opening of a seven minute window. A launch on June 23 would have allowed docking with Mir to take place on flight day four of the mission at about 10:30 a.m. EDT. Atlantis will remained docked to Mir for almost five days during which the crews aboard both vehicles will conduct joint life sciences research experiments.

On 6/21/95, managers decided to further inspect a leaking reaction control system (RCS) helium tank in the right-hand orbital maneuvering system (OMS) pod onAtlantis. Technicians were able to repair the leak. The pressure in the tank was reduced to ambient, a fitting on the tank replaced and a leak check performed.

The launch of STS-71 was originally slipped behind the launch of STS-70 because of a delay in the launch of the Russian Spektr laboratory module to the Russian space station MIR. The launch of Spektr in Russia was moved from May 10 1995 to May 21, 1995. Russian space officials wanted the extra capabilites offered by the Spektr module before a docking by Atlantis.

On 6/2/95, NASA managers decided to delay the launch of Discovery on Mission STS-70 in order to make repairs to foam insulation on the vehicle's external fuel tank. Earlier, technicans at Launch Pad 39-B discovered that woodpeckers had inflicted about six dozen small holes in the insulation material. STS-71 will now launch before STS-70.

On Thursday, May 18, 1995, engineers determined the need to remove and replace the High-Pressure Fuel Turbopump (HPFT) on space shuttle main engine (SSME) No. 3. This work was completed and leak checks performed on 5/25/95.


Altitude: 170 nm
Inclination: 51.6 degrees
Orbits: 153
Duration: 9 days, 19 hours, 22 minutes, 17 seconds
Distance: 4.1 million miles


SRB: BI-072
SRM: 360L044A/360L044B
ET : SN-70
SSME-1: SN-2028
SSME-2: SN-2034
SSME-3: SN-2032


KSC July 7, 1995 at 10:54:34 am on Runway 15. Nose wheel touchdown at 10:54:44 sec. Wheels stop at 10:55:25 am EDT.

There were two opportunities for a Florida landing-- the first beginning with an engine firing at 9:45 a.m. EDT, leading to the 10:55 a.m EDT. touchdown. The second landing opportunity (starting with a 11:22 a.m. EDT engine firing, leading to a 12:31 a.m. EDT touchdown) was not necessary. If landing had been rescheduled 24 hours, the times would have been 11:35 a.m and 1:12pm.

Mission Highlights:

Atlantis lifted off on-time from the Kennedy Space Center. Launch Complex 39-A (LC-39A) June 27, 1995 at 3:32:19.044pm EDT on the historic 100th US Manned launch to dock with the Russian Space Station MIR.

STS-71 Flight Day 1 Highlights:
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Last Updated Friday June 29 11:21:08 EDT 2001
Jim Dumoulin (Redacted)