Norman Earl Thagard (born July 3, 1943), (Capt, USMC, Ret.), is an American scientist and former U.S. Marine Corps officer and naval aviator and NASA astronaut. He is the first American to ride to space on board a Russian vehicle, and can be considered the first American cosmonaut. He did on this on March 14, 1995, in the Soyuz TM-21 spacecraft for the Russian Mir-18 mission.
STS-7 was the second mission for the Space Shuttle Challenger. It deployed several satellites into orbit. It was the first mission scheduled to land at Kennedy Space Center however it had to divert to Edwards Air Force Base due to bad weather.Low Earth Orbit
STS-71 was the third mission of the US/Russian Shuttle-Mir Program and the first Space Shuttle docking to Russian space station Mir. It started on 27 June 1995 with the launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis from launch pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The shuttle delivered a relief crew of two cosmonauts Anatoly Solovyev and Nikolai Budarin to the station and recovered Increment astronaut Norman Thagard. Atlantis returned to Earth on 7 July with a crew of eight. It was the first of seven straight missions to Mir flown by Atlantis.Low Earth Orbit
Soyuz TM-21 was the 21st mission and the 18th long-duration expedition to Mir space station. It was also a part of the US/Russian Shuttle-Mir Program. The mission began on March 14, 1995, 06:11:34 UTC, launching Commander Vladimir Dezhurov, Flight Engineer Gennady Strekalov and Research Cosmonaut Norman Thagard (who became the first American to ride the Soyuz) into orbit. They docked with Mir two days later. During their stay there, cosmonauts performed several EVAs to prepare for the docking of the new Spektr module. Station crew was visited by several Progress resupply spacecrafts, and welcomed aboard the STS-71 with the 19th expedition crew. Crews exchanged vehicles, and members of the 18th expedition returned aboard STS-71, landing safely back on Earth on 7 July 1995, 14:55:28 UTC. Soyuz TM-21 brought back the 19th expedition later on September 11, 1995, 06:52:40 UTC.Low Earth Orbit
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is an independent agency of the executive branch of the United States federal government responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and aerospace research. NASA have many launch facilities but most are inactive. The most commonly used pad will be LC-39B at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.