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This Site features the general informations about STS-81. Click on the little STS-81 patch for the theme of your choice.

sts81.gif (6354 Byte)STS-81 Quick Look

sts81.gif (6354 Byte)STS-81 Press Kit

sts81.gif (6354 Byte)Payload and Vehicle Weights


STS-81 Quick Look

Launch Date/Site: January 12, 1997/KSC Launch Pad 39-B
Launch Time: 4:27 a.m. EST
Launch Window: 7-10 minutes (for a Flight Day 3 rendezvous)
Orbiter: Atlantis (OV-104), 18 th flight
Orbit Altitude/Inclination: 160 nautical miles, 213 n.m. for docking, 51.6 degrees
Mission Duration: 10 days, 3 hours, 30 minutes
Landing Date: January 22, 1997
Landing Time: 7:57 a.m. EST
Primary Landing Site: Kennedy Space Center, FL
Abort Landing Sites: Return to Launch Site - KSC
Transoceanic Abort Sites - Ben Guerir, Morocco and Moron, Spain
Abort-Once Around - Edwards AFB, CA
Crew: Mike Baker, Commander (CDR), 4 th flight
Brent Jett, Pilot (PLT), 2nd flight
Jeff Wisoff, Mission Specialist 1 (MS 1), 3 rd flight
John Grunsfeld, Mission Specialist 2 (MS 2), 2nd flight
Marsha Ivins, Mission Specialist 3 (MS 3), 4th flight
Jerry Linenger, Mission Specialist 4 (MS 4-up), 2nd flight
John Blaha, Mission Specialist 4, (MS 4- down), 5th flight
EVA Crew: (if needed)

Jeff Wisoff (EV 1), John Grunsfeld (EV 2)

Mir 22 Crew: Valery Korzun, Commander, (CDR) Alexander Kaleri, Flight Engineer, (FE) John Blaha, Flight Engineer 2, (FE 2)
Cargo Bay Payloads: SPACEHAB-Double Module
Orbiter Docking System
In-Cabin Payloads: TVIS
Orbiter Space Vision System



STS-81 Press Kit

The continuing cooperative effort in space exploration between the United States and Russia will be the focus of NASA's first Shuttle mission of 1997 with the launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis on Mission STS-81.

This is the fifth of nine planned missions to Mir and the second one involving an exchange of U.S. astronauts. Astronaut John Blaha, who has been on Mir since September 19, 1996, will be replaced by astronaut Jerry Linenger. Linenger will spend more than four months on Mir. He will return to Earth on Space Shuttle Mission STS-84, scheduled for launch in May 1997.

Atlantis will again be carrying the SPACEHAB module in the payload bay of the orbiter. The double module configuration will house experiments to be performed by Atlantis' crew along with logistics equipment to be transferred to Mir.

The STS-81 crew will be commanded by Michael A. Baker who will be making his fourth Shuttle flight. The pilot, Brent W. Jett, Jr., will be making his second flight. There are four mission specialists assigned to this flight. Peter J.K. "Jeff" Wisoff, serving as Mission Specialist-1, is making his third flight. Mission Specialist-2 John M. Grunsfeld is making his second space flight. Marsha S. Ivins serving as Mission Specialist-3 is making her fourth space flight. Jerry M. Linenger will be Mission Specialist-4 for launch through docking with Mir. Shortly after docking, Linenger and Blaha will conduct their handover with Linenger becoming a member of the Mir crew and Blaha becoming Mission Specialist-4 through the end of the flight.

Atlantis is targeted for an early morning launch on or about January 12, 1997 from NASA's Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39-B. The current launch time of 4:27 a.m. EST may vary by a few minutes based on calculations of Mir's precise location in space at the time of liftoff due to Shuttle rendezvous phasing requirements. The STS-81 mission is scheduled to last 10 days, 3 hours, 30 minutes. An on-time launch on January 12 and nominal mission duration would have Atlantis landing back at Kennedy Space Center on January 22 at about 8 a.m. EST.

Atlantis' rendezvous and docking with the Mir actually begin with the precisely timed launch setting the orbiter on a course for rendezvous with the orbiting Russian facility. Over the next two to three days, periodic firings of Atlantis' small thruster engines will gradually bring the Shuttle within closer proximity to Mir.

The STS-81 mission is part of the NASA/Mir program which consists of nine Shuttle-Mir dockings and seven long duration flights of U.S. astronauts aboard the Russian space station. The U.S. astronauts will launch and land on a Shuttle and serve as Mir crew members while the Mir cosmonauts use their traditional Soyuz vehicle for launch and landing. This series of missions will expand U.S. research on Mir by providing resupply materials for experiments to be performed aboard the station as well as returning experiment samples and data to Earth.

The current Mir 22 mission began when cosmonauts Valeri Korzun and Aleksandr Kaleri were launched on August 17, 1996, in a Soyuz vehicle and docked with the Mir two days later. John Blaha joined the Mir 22 crew with the September 19, 1996, docking of STS-79. Blaha will complete his stay on Mir and return with the STS-81 crew. Linenger will work with the Mir 22 crew until the arrival of Mir 23 cosmonauts Vasili Tsibliev, Aleksandr Lazutkin and German researcher Reinhold Ewald in early February 1997. After the Mir 22 crew and Ewald return to Earth in a Soyuz, Linenger will complete his tour with the Mir 23 crew. Linenger will be replaced by NASA Astronaut Mike Foale when Atlantis again docks with Mir in May.

The STS-81 mission also will include several experiments in the fields of advanced technology, Earth sciences, fundamental biology, human life sciences, microgravity, and space sciences. Data also will supply insight for the planning and development of the International Space Station, Earth-based sciences of human and biological processes, and the advancement of commercial technology.

STS-81 will involve the transfer of 5,975 pounds of logistics to and from the Mir, the largest transfer of items to date. During the docked phase, 1,400 pounds of water, 1,137.7 pounds of U.S. science equipment, 2,206.1 pounds of Russian logistics along with 268.2 pounds of miscellaneous material will be transferred to Mir. Returning to Earth aboard Atlantis will be 1,256.6 pounds of U.S. science material, 891.8 pounds of Russian logistics and 214.6 pounds of miscellaneous material.

STS-81 will be the 18th flight of Atlantis and the 81st mission flown since the start of the Space Shuttle program in April 1981.



Payload and Vehicle Weights


Vehicle/Payload Pounds
Orbiter (Atlantis) empty and 3 SSME's 180,713
Shuttle System at SRB Ignition 4,510,780
Orbiter Weight at Landing with Cargo 249,936
Spacehab-Double Module 10,525
Orbiter Docking System 4,016