STS-71 was the third mission of the US/Russian Shuttle-Mir Program, which carried out the first Space Shuttle docking to Mir, a Russian space station. The mission used Space Shuttle Atlantis, which lifted off from launch pad 39A on 27 June 1995 from Kennedy Space Center, Florida. The mission delivered a relief crew of two cosmonauts, Anatoly Solovyev and Nikolai Budarin, to the station, along with recovering American Increment astronaut Norman Thagard, and was the first in a series of seven straight missions to the station flown by Atlantis.
The five-day docking marked the creation of the largest spacecraft ever placed into orbit at that time in history, the first ever on-orbit changeout of Shuttle crew members, and the 100th manned space launch by the United States. During the docked operations, the crews of the shuttle & station carried out various on-orbit joint US/Russian life sciences investigations aboard Spacelab/Mir and a logistical resupply of the Mir, along with the Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment-II (SAREX-II) experiment.