The Russian Space Agency has nominated veteran cosmonaut Valeriy Ryumin, Ph.D., to fly as a mission specialist on STS-91, set for a May 1998 launch on Discovery.

Ryumin, the Program Manager, Russian Phase I Mir-Shuttle Program, is training with the STS-91 crew at the Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX. He is a space flight veteran, having spent 362 days in space over three missions. He was the flight engineer on the Soyuz 25 mission, then flew on the Soyuz 32 mission to Salyut 6, spending 175 days there from Feb. 25 to Aug. 19, 1979. Ryumin's last space flight came as a member of the Soyuz 35 mission, on which he spent 185 days in space from April 9 to Oct. 11, 1980.

STS-91 will mark Ryumin's first Space Shuttle flight and first visit to the Mir space station. Already named to the crew are Commander Charles J. Precourt (Col., USAF), Pilot Dominic L. Gorie (Cmdr. USN), and Mission Specialists Wendy B. Lawrence (Cdr., USN), Franklin Chang-Diaz, Ph.D., and Janet Kavandi, Ph.D.

Mission Specialist Andrew Thomas, Ph.D., will join the STS-91 crew as he returns from a four-month research mission on Mir. Thomas' departure from Mir will bring to an end more than two years of a continuous U.S. presence on Mir, beginning with Shannon Lucid in March 1996. Thomas will arrive on Mir as a member of the STS-89 crew.

The Phase I Shuttle/Mir Program is a precursor to the International Space Station, maintaining a continuous American and Russian presence in space and developing the procedures and hardware required for an international partnership in space.

For complete biographical information on the STS-91 crew, or any astronaut, see the NASA Internet biography home page at URL:

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