STS -76 (English Space Transportation System) is a mission name for the U.S. Space Shuttle Atlantis ( OV -104 ) from NASA. The launch took place on 22 March 1996. It was the 76th Space Shuttle mission, the 16th flight of the Space Shuttle Atlantis, the fifth flight as part of the Shuttle -Mir program, and the third coupling of a U.S. space shuttle to the space station me.


Shuttle crew

  • Kevin Chilton ( third space flight), Commander
  • Richard Searfoss ( second space flight), Pilot
  • Ronald Sega ( second space flight), Mission Specialist
  • Michael Clifford ( third space flight), Mission Specialist
  • Linda Godwin ( 3 space flight ), Mission Specialist

Mir Crew Departure

  • Shannon Lucid ( 5 spacecraft )


  • John Blaha for Lucid

Mission Description

The third rendezvous mission, the astronaut Shannon Lucid was taken to the Mir space station. In addition, supplies, equipment and Experimentiergut were delivered, different devices mounted outboard of the station as well as technological and biological experiments conducted in Spacehab.

The coupling of Atlantis on the Shuttle Docking Module ( SDM ) of the station took place on flight day 3. Then Gyrokreisel ( Liquid Phase Sintering Microgravity in a Box, ), food, water, movies, clothing and a specially adapted seat for Shannon Lucid from the Atlantis were for position control, a power converter, batteries, Experimentiergut made ​​it into the station ( a total of 862 kg). In the opposite direction disused equipment and samples from different experiments were transported. These included mainly blood, saliva and urine samples of long-term airmen. On the ground, these samples were analyzed. The intention is to assess how strongly increases the risk of kidney disease in zero gravity and how changes in protein metabolism.

When spacewalk of Godwin and Clifford on March 27 ( 6:02 ) four passive devices were installed ( MEEP ) to the SDM of the station. The Polished Plate Micrometeorid Debris Collector ( PPMDC ) the number and strength of micro- meteorite impacts was determined. It also could be making statements about the size, origin and effect of the dust particles. When Orbital Debris Collector ( ODC) it was another dust collector. Thus, both manmade contaminants as well as cosmic particles were collected. The experimental complex was completed by two packets with different materials to be used in the construction of the International Space Station ( POSA I and II). These included layers of paint, glass, multi-layer insulation material and various metals. All four experiments should be removed in about 18 months back and transported to Earth for further investigation. In addition, new mooring lines and footholds were tested and dismantled a video camera from the coupling module. For the second time had the spaceman the bailout SAFER (Simplified Aid For EVA Rescue ) are available. It is a little maneuvering with 24 nitrogen nozzle with which a of distressed astronaut can move back to the shuttle. The devices are mounted on the back of the spaceman and reach a maximum velocity change of 3 meters per second. Normally, the astronauts but preserved by safety lines before a drift from the spacecraft.

In Spacehab was the BioRack in use developed by ESA. With it, the resistance to cosmic radiation and the effects of microgravity on various biological samples should be explored. Objects of investigation were bone tissue, hematopoietic cells, the enzyme PKC, plant roots and plant cells. In the latter cell regeneration, cell division, cell growth and differentiation of the cells were studied. After successful execution of the experiments, the samples were refrigerated or frozen. BioRack is a two cabinets comprehensive system with a plurality of incubators in which temperature can be kept constant during the experiment, a cooling system (-22 ° C to 10 ° C) and the corresponding control. The samples are prepared via a glove box for the appropriate examinations.

First deployed the experiment KidSat, with the American students could even take control of a camera. Their images were then sent directly to the schools involved. With the Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment ( SAREX ) were also able to get in direct radio contact with students and student groups with the astronauts. SAREX has for many years part of the shuttle program.

Further investigations on board the Atlantis involved the measurement of interference signals in the range of 400 MHz to 18 GHz in the vicinity of the Russian space station (Experiment MEFC ) and measurements of the intensity of a few years ago discovered belt of low-energy particle radiation ( TRIS), in which in particular the vulnerability of sensitive electronic equipment and astronauts in extravehicular activities in the focus of interest. With the help of polycarbonate detectors can be kind, determine energy and turning direction of the particles. In addition, you want to win theoretical statements about how the electrically charged nuclei from the Earth's magnetic field are captured. Were carried out further experiments on the diffusion of liquids ( QUELD ), for the production of protein crystals for medical purposes, to test a new gas analysis system ( GASMAP ) and for wireless networking of computers ( WNE ). Due to bad weather the flight was extended by one day. Nevertheless, then landing on the Edwards Air Force Base in had to be done.