On the 29th of June in the year 1995, the largest man made satellite to ever orbit the planet earth was formed. The satellite was formed by the two super space countries in the world , America and Russia. The American space shuttle famously known as Atlantis docked with Mir, a Russian space ship to form the largest satellite. The two countries had experienced rivalry in the past over space discoveries and inventions. It was indeed an historic moment as the largest satellite was formed. The satellite was also the 100th space station to be made in the American history, to go on a space mission. Daniel Goldin was the chief of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Goldin termed this new
The world was watching the whole process on television as Atlantis was being launched into space. As millions watched both at home and at the NASA Kennedy Space Center in eastern Florida, Atlantis blasted off into space. Atlantis was launched into space on the 27th of June 1995. A few minutes to 6 am in the morning of June 19th, the seven crew members of the Atlantis approached Mir. The two crafts: Atlantis and Mir orbited the planet earth for some 245 miles just above the central Asia close to the Russian Mongolian border. The three cosmonauts on the Mir broadcast were able to spot the Atlantis shuttle, and decided to welcome Atlantis and its crew members with a Russian folk song. A very impressive welcome that was.
Robert Gibson known as Hoot was the shuttle’s commander, for close to two hours, Hoot carefully and skillfully maneuvered his craft towards the Russian pace station. Gibson was able to make a safe docking by steering the 100 ton shuttle to within three inches of Mir, this was done with a closing speed of not more than one foot per every 10 seconds. This was really impressive and needed only a very skilled person to pull it. The docking happened safely and by 8 am it was complete. The docking took place just two seconds of the expected time of arrival. The other amazing fact was that the docking was able to use 200pound less of fuel than it had been anticipated before. The Russian space station Mir combined with Atlantis form the largest spacecraft that ever orbited the planet earth. This was the second time that two space crafts from two different countries were linking up to form a bigger space station the first took place in 1975 also in the month of June. An American spacecraft named Apollo capsule a Soviet Union space craft called Soyuz joined for a short period of time in the orbit of planet earth. When the docking was complete Gibosn and Ladimir Ezhuroz who was Mir’s commander greeted each other by clasping their hands together in a victory celebration. Then followed a formal exchange of gifts that included chocolates, fruit, flowers, bread and salt. Atlantis remained docked to Mir for the next five days before returning to planet earth. The return journey was made by three veteran crews of Atlantis and two Russian astronauts, also Norman Thagard took the return flight. He had been in space for close to 100 days. Mir continued with 1 more missions in the space.