For example, the Space Shuttle Endeavour did dock with both MIR (bringing apple seeds) and the ISS. Did all of the shuttles dock with more than one space station and/or crewed spacecraft?

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above: Space Shuttle Endeavour docked with MIR, from here.

below: Cosmic Apple Tree, Dedication Date: October 9, 2009 from here.

This apple tree was grown from apple seeds provided by the Alabama Aerospace Teachers' Association in conjunction with the Cosmic Apple Seed Project. The seeds were flown aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour (OV-105) by Alabama Astronaut Joe F. Edwards. Launched on January 22, 1998, the seeds traveled over 3.6 million miles in 8 days, 19 hours, 48 minutes, docked with the Mir Space Station and traveled over 18,000 miles per hour. The seeds returned to the Cape on January 31, 1998. Mrs. Diane Watson's 3rd Grade Class at Webb Elementary School, in Webb, Alabama planted the seed during Spring of 1998.

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below: From here:

In the STS-89 crew insignia, the link between the United States and Russia is symbolically represented by the Space Shuttle Endeavour and Russia's Mir Space Station orbiting above the Bering Strait between Siberia and Alaska. The success of the joint United States-Russian missions is depicted by the Space Shuttle and Mir colored by the rising sun in the background. A shadowed representation of the International Space Station (ISS) rising with the sun represents the future program for which the Shuttle-Mir missions are prototypes. [...]

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1 Answer 1


Columbia did not.

Despite being in service during the Shuttle-Mir and International Space Station programs, Columbia did not fly any missions that visited a space station. The other three active orbiters at the time had visited both Mir and the ISS at least once. Columbia was not well-suited for high-inclination missions; it was the heaviest of the orbiters, being the first of the space-rated orbiters produced. It did lose some weight with late modifications, and was scheduled to go to ISS, but was lost before that happened.

Discovery visited both; it was the first shuttle to visit Mir (but did not dock on that occasion); it docked with Mir on a later flight, and visited ISS 13 times.

Endeavour docked with Mir once and ISS 12 times.

Atlantis docked with Mir seven times and ISS 12 times.

Challenger, of course, was lost before the Shuttle-Mir program began.

As for other dockings with manned craft, the space shuttle program ended before China's first station went up, and the US and China haven't had that level of cooperation in their space program in any case; likewise, the USSR wouldn't have been likely to invite the shuttle to visit Salyut 7, which was last crewed in 1986.

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    $\begingroup$ I believe Columbia had performance issues. If I recall correctly, it was heavier than the rest of the fleet. My memory fails me... $\endgroup$
    – Erik
    Mar 12, 2017 at 6:35
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    $\begingroup$ Any idea if Atlantis' seven dockings versus zero or one for the others is a statistical fluke, or due to some difference between the shuttles. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Mar 12, 2017 at 6:45
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    $\begingroup$ Columbia was planned to go to ISS eventually - see my question about shuttle planned manifest prior to the last accident (I am on a lousy device and can't search for it) $\endgroup$ Mar 12, 2017 at 13:11
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    $\begingroup$ That's it, thanks. It just showed that Columbia was finally planned for one space station docking mission, although it never happened of course. STS-118 (not what that later turned out to be) $\endgroup$ Mar 12, 2017 at 13:33
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    $\begingroup$ French astronaut Jean-Loup Chretien visited Salyut 7 in '83 or so. At that time France was trying to take a sort of third-way strategy in the Cold War, so wasn't in quite as adversarial position to the USSR as the US and other NATO nations. An astronaut from India also went to Salyut; India and USSR were likewise more or less friendly. $\endgroup$ Mar 13, 2017 at 15:10

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