Mir Expedition EO-18. Soyuz TM-21 carried the EO-18 Mir crew and American Norman Thagard. Thagard was the first American to be launched in a Soyuz. Soyuz docked with Mir at 07:45:26 GMT on March 16 . On July 4 Soyuz TM-21 undocked and backed off to a distance of 100 m from Mir. The US space shuttle Atlantis, with the EO-18 crew aboard, then undocked and began a flyaround at a distance of 210 m, while the EO-19 crew aboard Soyuz took pictures before redocking with the station. Soyuz TM-21 again undocked with the EO-19 crew on September 11 from the Kvant rear port on Mir and landed at 50 deg 41'N 68 deg 15'E, 108 km northeast of Arkalyk in Kazakhstan, at 06:52:40 GMT .
Mir Expedition EO-18. Soyuz TM-21 carried the EO-18 Mir crew and American Norman Thagard. Orbit insertion and separation of the 7170 kg spaceship from the Blok-I third stage was at 06:20:23. Soyuz TM-21 entered an 88.61 min, 190 x 220 km x 51.65 deg orbit. Two burns at 09:46 and 10:45 GMT raised the orbit to 89.89 min, 231 x 306 km. A small phasing burn was carried out the following day at 07:09, and then two final rendezvous burns raised the orbit to 92.43 min, 390 x 396 km, matching that of the Mir station. Soyuz docked with Mir at 07:45:26 GMT on Mar 16 and the crew entered Mir at around 09:30. Launch of TM-21 meant that there were 13 people in space at once for the first time ever: Dezhurov, Strekalov, Thagard on Soyuz; Viktorenko, Kondakova and Polyakov on Mir; and Oswald, Gregory, Lawrence, Jernigan, Grunsfeld, Parise, and Durrance on Endeavour.
The Soyuz TM spaceship was made up of three sections: the PAO (priborno-agregatniy otsek / service-equipment module), 3057 kg, which contains the engine and carries the solar panel wings; the SA (spuskaemiy apparat / descent vehicle), 2835 kg, with heat shield, command and control cabin, and the three cosmonaut couches; and the BO (bitovoi otsek / living module) of 1278 kg with the docking unit. Thagard was the first American to be launched in a Soyuz, although the ASTP crew flew in one while their Apollo craft was docked to it in 1975. On July 3 the EO-18 and STS-71 crews returned to Atlantis, and the EO-19 crew (Solovyov and Budarin) closed the Mir hatch at around 20:00 GMT. Early on July 4, the two EO-19 cosmonauts entered the Soyuz TM-21 ferry ship and prepared to undock for an exercise in joint manoeuvring and photography.
Soyuz TM-21 undocked at 10:55 GMT on Jul 4, and backed off to a distance of 100 m. Atlantis then undocked at 11:09:45 GMT and began to back away from the Mir station. As Atlantis began its flyaround at a distance of 210 m, Soyuz redocked with the Kvant module at 11:39 GMT. Redocking was about a minute early. Just prior to the redocking, one of Mir's attitude control computers crashed, putting Mir in free drift, although this was not considered a serious problem. This was Solovyov's seventh docking with Mir over the course of four missions. At 12:35 GMT, Atlantis completed its 360 degree flyaround and ignited its engines for the separation burn, while sending back spectacular TV of the Mir complex. The EO-19 crew returned to Earth on September 11 in Soyuz TM-21. Anatoli Solovyov and Nikolai Budarin undocked from the Kvant rear port on Mir at 03:30:44 GMT and landed at 50 deg 41'N 68 deg 15'E, 108 km northeast of Arkalyk in Kazakhstan, at 06:52:40 GMT. Soyuz TM-21 had been used to ferry the EO-18 crew (including Norm Thagard) into space in March; the EO-18 crew returned to Earth in June aboard Atlantis, which had delivered the EO-19 crew to the station. References: 2 , 6 , 51 , 276 .