January 9, 2012 - Hitching a Ride Home
Hitching a Ride Home After having spent 118 days on the Mir space station, astronaut John Blaha caught a ride home on the space shuttle Atlantis. Launched fifteen years ago this week, STS-81 was the fifth flight to the Russian space station. In addition to ferrying Blaha back home and leaving astronaut Jerry Linenger to take his place, the crew of Atlantis returned with the first plants to complete a life cycle in space—a crop of wheat grown from seed to seed—and they transferred six tons of supplies and equipment between the shuttle and Mir. This image of Mir, taken by the STS-81 crew, shows the various modules that were joined to the core module to form the space station complex. At the far right is the orange docking module that allowed space shuttles to join up with Mir on nine separate occasions.
Image credit: NASA
January 9-15, 2012
Holidays - Sky Events - Space History
Full Moon 2:30 AM ET
Venus 1.2° south of Neptune
Mars 9° north of Moon