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Science & Exploration

N° 31–1996: ESA astronaut named to sixth Shuttle-Mir docking mission

12 July 1996

ESA astronaut Jean-François Clervoy has been named by NASA to the crew that will make the sixth scheduled docking of the American Space Shuttle Atlantis to the Russian space station Mir. This mission, STS-84, is scheduled for May 1997. It is part of NASA's Phase One Program for the International Space Station.

Jean-François Clervoy, of French nationality, will be a Mission Specialist on the mission The other five crew members, all NASA astronauts, are: Charles Precourt (commander); Eileen Collins (pilot); and Carlos Noriega, Edward Lu and Mike Foale (also mission specialists).

The Space Shuttle, carrying the Spacehab double module, will remain docked to Mir for five days. During that time, supplies will be transferred to Mir, and samples and data from completed experiments will be stowed on the Shuttle for return to Earth. Mike Foale will also remain on board Mir when the Shuttle departs, replacing NASA astronaut Jerry Linenger who will have been at the Russian station for five months. Linenger will return to Earth with the STS-84 crew. Foale will stay on Mir for four months.

It will be the second flight for Clervoy. He flew previously on STS-66, the third Atmospheric Laboratory for Applications and Science (ATLAS-3), in November 1994. He joined the European Space Agency's Astronaut Corps, based at the European Astronauts Centre (EAC) in Cologne, Germany, in May 1992. After completing the introductory astronaut training programme at EAC, he entered NASA's Mission Specialist training at Johnson Spaceflight Center (JSC) in Houston and was part of the first international class, which graduated in August 1993.

The selection of Jean-Fran_çois Clervoy is very important for the European Space Agency as it prepares for the International Space Station, that will remain in orbit for more than a decade. ESA is participating in the International Space Station together with the USA, Russia, Canada and Japan. The first element is scheduled to be launched in about 500 days from now.

The STS-84 mission is very similar to the logistics missions that will be used to deliver and retrieve supplies, equipment and astronauts to and from the Space Station. Participation in such missions allows the European astronauts to prepare for their future active role on the Space Station. The practical experience gained by Clervoy will also be very useful in the design and development of the elements that form the European contribution to the International Space Station, namely the Columbus Orbital Facility and the Automated Transfer Vehicle. Biographical information on Jean-François Clervoy.