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Atlantis Gets Ticket to Ride for a Full 10 Days

September 18, 1996| From Associated Press

HOUSTON — Space shuttle Atlantis was cleared Tuesday for a full 10-day flight as it chased the Russian space station Mir to pick up U.S. astronaut Shannon Lucid, who has been on the orbiting outpost several weeks longer than planned because of repeated launch delays.

To wake up the shuttle crew, which is sleeping days and working nights because of the Mir rendezvous, Mission Control on Tuesday evening played a recording of Fontella Bass' 1965 hit, "Rescue Me."

"A message from Shannon," Mission Control told the astronauts.

Atlantis' six-man crew began preparing packages of supplies for transfer to Mir, where the shuttle is due to arrive tonight.

NASA decided not to shorten the 10-day mission in spite of the puzzling failure of one of three hydraulic power units minutes after liftoff Monday.

Managers had considered reducing the five-day period that Atlantis and Mir are supposed to be connected and bringing the shuttle back early.

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