Atlantis approached the Russian Space Station prior to docking during the STS-76 mission. Sporting spindly appendages and solar pannels, Mir resembles a whimsical flying insect as it orbits above New Zealand's South Island near the Cook Straight. Atlantis shuttled astronaut Shannon W. Lucid to Mir for a 140 day visit, increasing the Mir's occupancy from 2 to 3. It will return to pick Lucid up and drop off astronaut John Blaha during the STS-79 mission presently scheduled for launch on July 31, 1996.
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A service of: LHEA at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.
Based on Astronomy Picture Of the Day