Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center
Houston, Texas 77058
Following his first mission, he began training at the Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia, in preparation for a long-duration stay aboard the Russian Space Station Mir. All training was conducted using the Russian language, and consisted of learning all Mir space station systems (life support/electrical/communication/attitude control/computer systems), simulator training, Soyuz launch/return vehicle operations, and spacewalk water tank training. He also trained as chief scientist to conduct the entire US science program, consisting of over one-hundred planned experiments in various disciplines. A sampling includes: medicine (humoral immunity, sleep monitoring, radiation dosimetry), physiology (spatial orientation/performance changes during long duration flight), epidemiology (microbial surface sampling), metallurgy (determination of metal diffusion coefficients), oceanography/geology/limnology/physical science (photographic survey (over 10,000 photos) of the planet), space science (flame propagation), microgravity science (behavior of fluids, critical angle determination).
Linenger launched aboard U.S. Space Shuttle Atlantis (STS-81) on January 12, 1997, remained onboard the space station with two Russian cosmonauts upon undocking of the Shuttle, and eventually returned upon a different mission of Atlantis (STS-84) on May 24, 1997-spending a total of 132 days, 4 hours, 1 minute in space-the longest duration flight of an American male to date.
During his stay aboard space station Mir, Linenger became the first American to conduct a spacewalk from a foreign space station and in a non-American made spacesuit. During the five hour walk, he and his Russian colleague tested for the first time ever the newly designed Orlan-M Russian-built spacesuit, installed the Optical Properties Monitor (OPM) and Benton dosimeter on the outer surface of the station, and retrieved for analysis on Earth numerous externally-mounted material-exposure panels.
The three crewmembers also performed a "flyaround" in the Soyuz spacecraft-undocking from one docking port of the station, manually flying to and redocking the capsule at a different location-thus making Linenger the first American to undock from a space station aboard two different spacecraft (U.S. Space Shuttle and Russian Soyuz).
While living aboard the space station , Linenger and his two Russian crewmembers faced numerous difficulties-the most severe fire ever aboard an orbiting spacecraft, failures of onboard systems (oxygen generator, carbon dioxide scrubbing, cooling line loop leaks, communication antenna tracking ability, urine collection and processing facility), a near collision with a resupply cargo ship during a manual docking system test, loss of station electrical power, and loss of attitude control resulting in a slow, uncontrolled "tumble" through space. In spite of these challenges and added demands on their time (in order to carry out the repair work), they still accomplished all mission goals-spacewalk, flyaround, and one-hundred percent of the planned U.S. science experiments.
In completing the nearly five month mission, Linenger logged approximately 50 million miles (the equivalent of over 110 roundtrips to the Moon and back), more than 2000 orbits around the Earth, and traveled at an average speed of 18,000 miles per hour. Because of the flawless launch, docking, undocking, and landing of the Space Shuttle Atlantis (STS-84) crew-exchange mission, he made it back to the planet just in time to be reunited with Kathryn and to witness the birth of their second son.