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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

05/22/1997

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Shuttle Closes Hatch on Mir Mission

KOROLYOV, Moscow Region -- Just an hour before the hatches closed Wednesday between the Russian Mir space station and the Atlantis space shuttle that will take Jerry Linenger home, the U.S. astronaut said the first thing he would like to do back on Earth is go fishing. Linenger, 42, said his four-month flight aboard the aging Mir had been a ""major adventure"" -- certainly an understatement. Linenger and his Russian colleagues Vasili Tsibliyev and Alexander Lazutkin had to contend with a flash fire, leaking antifreeze fumes, broken oxygen generators and a carbon-dioxide removal system that overheated. ""I would repeat this, but I don't think I'll have the opportunity"", said Linenger. ""What I missed most is fresh air."" As the Atlantis mission to Mir came to a close Wednesday afternoon Moscow time, the upbeat and cheerful crew of 10 took questions from journalists in a live televised hook-up with mission control centers in Houston, Texas, and Korolyov, outside Moscow.

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