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Record-Breaking Astronaut Leaves Mir, Heads Home

September 24, 1996| Associated Press

HOUSTON — The space shuttle Atlantis left Russia's orbiting Mir station Monday night with astronaut Shannon Lucid, who ended her six-month visit with tender goodbyes and embraces.

The shuttle undocked and slowly backed away as the space travelers--six on Atlantis and three on Mir--peered through windows and waved farewell.

"You look great. We'll see you later," said Lucid's replacement, astronaut John Blaha, who stayed behind for a four-month stay.

The radio link was poor; it almost sounded as though he were singing with the two Russian crew members as they said "Bye-bye, you guys."

The 240-mile-high parting over the Ural Mountains brought Lucid one step closer to home. Atlantis is due to return to Earth on Thursday, concluding her record-breaking stay of 188 days in space.

"I'm really happy, and I also feel just a little sad," said Lucid.

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