JOHNSON SPACE CENTRE (REUTER) - The crew of Russia`s Mir space station welcomed a U.S. shuttle crew to their orbiting home on Wednesday with handshakes, hugs and cheers. The space shuttle Atlantis docked with the station late on Tuesday to bring home current Mir resident John Blaha and drop off his replacement, Jerry Linenger. The two craft linked up at 10:54 p.m. EST on Tuesday as they orbited about 250 miles above Russia, southeast of Moscow. It was the fifth time Atlantis had visited the station. Linenger`s tour of duty aboard Mir is due to end in May. He will be the fourth U.S. astronaut to live aboard the station. Russian space officials have admitted their cash-strapped space programme now relies on the shuttle to ferry supplies and equipment to the station. Atlantis is scheduled to land at Florida`s Kennedy Space Centre on Jan. 22.