Selected by NASA in April 1996, Polansky reported to the Johnson Space Center in August 1996 to begin two years of training and evaluation. Successful completion of initial training will qualify him for various technical assignments leading to selection as a pilot on a Space Shuttle flight crew.
International Space Station assembly mission; delivered the Destiny and PMA-2 modules. The shuttle orbiter was placed in an initial 74 x 323 km x 51.6 deg orbit. At 2357 GMT the OMS engines fired for the OMS-2 burn which raised Atlantis' orbit to 204 x 322 km x 51.6 deg. Atlantis docked with the Station at 1651 GMT on February 9 at the PMA-3 port on Unity's nadir. At 1500 GMT on Feb 10 Marsha Ivins used the RMS arm to unberth the PMA-2 docking port from Unity. Tom Jones and Bob Curbeam then conducted three spacewalks on Februay 10 to 14 to attach the Destiny and PMA-2 modules to the station. Atlantis undocked from Alpha at 1406 GMT on February 16. Atlantis landed at Edwards AFB on February 20; plans to land on February 18 and 19 were called off due to bad weather at Kennedy Space Center. The deorbit burn was at 1927 GMT and lowered the orbit from 370 x 386 km to about 50 x 380 km. The nominal entry interface at 122 km came at 2002 GMT and touchdown on runway 22 was at 20:33 GMT. On March 1 Atlantis was flown on the back of NASA's SCA 911 carrier aircraft to Altus AFB, Oklahoma, en route to Kennedy.