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Cosmonauts Dock at Space Station, Join Crew Inside

December 23, 1987|Associated Press

MOSCOW — Three Soviet cosmonauts today docked their Soyuz capsule with the Mir space station, whose crew holds the world record for space endurance.

The cosmonauts will work with their two comrades in the Mir for a week, then two--Vladimir Titov, 40, and Musa Manarov, 36--will replace them aboard the station. It will be the Soviets' first complete on-board crew rotation.

The TM-4 capsule, under Titov's command, docked with the Mir station at 3:51 p.m. Moscow time, Tass press agency said. The third crewman, test pilot Anatoly Levchenko, 46, will return to Earth by New Year's Day with the two Mir veterans.

The Soyuz crewmen spent a few minutes tightening the linkup before joining Yuri Romanenko and Alexander Alexandrov inside the orbital station, Tass said.

Romanenko, 43, has been in space since Feb. 6--a total of 321 days. On Sept. 30, he surpassed the record for space endurance, and Soviet scientists are eager to see the effects of the extended period of weightlessness.

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