Docking of Endeavour to Mir occurred at 3:14 p.m., Jan. 24, at an altitude of 214 nautical miles. Hatches opened at 5:25 p.m. the same day. Transfer of Andy Thomas to Mir and return of David Wolf to the U.S. orbiter occurred at 6:35 p.m., Jan. 25. Initially, Thomas thought his Sokol pressure suit did not fit, and the crew exchange was allowed to proceed only after Wolf’s suit was adjusted to fit Thomas. Once on Mir, Thomas was able to make adequate adjustments to his own suit (which would be worn should the crew need to return to Earth in the Soyuz capsule) and this remained on Mir with him. Wolf spent a total of 119 days aboard Mir, and after landing his total on-orbit time was 128 days.
Hatches between the spacecraft closed at 5:34 p.m., Jan. 28, and two spacecraft undocked at 11:57 a.m., Jan. 29. More than 8,000 pounds (3,629 kilograms) of scientific equipment, logistical hardware and water were taken from Endeavour to Mir.
On Jan. 31, a new crew docked with Mir to begin a three-week handover. Thomas and his Mir 24 crewmates, Commander Anatoly Solvyev and Flight Engineer Pavel Vinogradov, greeted Mir 25 Commander Talgat Musabayev, Flight Engineer Nikolai Budarin and French researcher Leopold Eyharts following a soft docking on Jan. 31, just hours before the STS-89 crew touched down in Florida. Eyharts was to return to Earth Feb. 19 with the two Mir 24 cosmonauts, leaving Thomas, Musabayev and Budarin on Mir. Thomas, the last U.S. astronaut assigned to complete a lengthy stay on Mir, will return to Earth after a four-month stay as Phase I activities draw to a close.
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