The Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities, commonly known as Roscosmos, is the governmental body responsible for the space science program of the Russian Federation and general aerospace research. Soyuz has many launch locations the Russian sites are Baikonur, Plesetsk and Vostochny however Ariane also purchases the vehicle and launches it from French Guiana.
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.
The Soyuz programme is a human spaceflight programme initiated by the Soviet Union in the early 1960s. The Soyuz spacecraft was originally part of a Moon landing project intended to put a Soviet cosmonaut on the Moon. It was the third Soviet human spaceflight programme after the Vostok and Voskhod programmes.
The Shuttle–Mir program was a collaborative 11-mission space program between Russia and the United States that involved American Space Shuttles visiting the Russian space station Mir, Russian cosmonauts flying on the Shuttle, and an American astronaut flying aboard a Soyuz spacecraft to engage in long-duration expeditions aboard Mir.