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21/2 TONS OF SUPPLIES DELIVERED TO MIR CREW

A supply ship docked smoothly with the Mir space station today, delivering nearly 2 1/2 tons of supplies for its crew, including New Year's gifts.

"The docking went without a hitch in the automatic mode," said Vera Medvedkova, a spokeswoman for Mission Control.

Among the supplies were New Year's presents sent from the families of the two cosmonauts and U.S. astronaut David Wolf.

"You might as well have sent (about one pound) of snow," cosmonaut Pavel Vinogradov joked during a conversation with ground controllers.

Mission Control suggested the crew begin decorating a plastic fir tree they have on board.

The docking procedure has drawn extra attention since a June 25 crash, when a cargo ship slammed the station during a practice manual docking.

The automatic docking system, manufactured in the former Soviet republic of Ukraine, has failed repeatedly, and the crew often had to turn to manual controls.

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