Mir Docking Set For June

Astronaut Norman Thagard became the first American about the Russian space station Mir as the Soyuz capsule containing Thagard and two cosmonauts docked with Mir.

The three blasted off from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on March 14th. The shuttle Atlantis is set to pick up Thagard when it docks with Mir in June as part of a mission to test concepts for a future space station.

"I think the thing that has impressed me most is that the joint nature of this, the cooperative nature of this, has proceeded flawlessly," Thagard said at a news conference.

Thagard's flight to Mir is part of a U.S.-Russian space cooperation agreement that is supposed to lead, at the very least, to the construction of a new international space station beginning in 1997.

The chief of the state museum at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Yaroslav Nechesa,said in Russian. "When you work together for something jointly, you always have success. It's much harder independently."

"We have a saying: Together to Mars."