Shuttle-Mir Stories

Candid view of Michael Foale and Jean-Francois Clervoy in Mir's Base Block.

Foale on Going to Mir

In his Oral History, U.S. Mir astronaut Michael Foale describes his frame of mind and his mental approach to beginning his residency onboard Mir.

He says, "So I arrived on Mir in a very relaxed and . . . resilient frame of mind . . . [Mir is] a bit like a frat house, but more organized and better looked after . . .

"Dealing with that and then dealing with the kind of camping out, . . . my whole frame of mind was, 'This is not a shuttle flight. This is long duration. This is like being sent to Russia. So in the first two or three weeks, if I don't get all these [experiments and] things done, it's not a problem. . . .'

". . . I wasn't going to get myself into this big personal punishment cycle where you punish yourself for not having achieved all those things they thought we could have achieved, because I just treated it as an experiment in people living in space, and I would just do my best-faith attempt in like the ten hours of the day that I was working, seriously, to try and do what I could.

"But once ten hours were over, I was going to go wash, I was going to exercise, and I was going to go to bed, and I was going to eat comfortably and talk to my crew members. I was not going to kill myself at the beginning of a four-and-a-half-month flight.

"As a result, I was pretty comfortable with the crew. I liked the crew. I was spending time talking to them. Sometimes in the afternoon Sasha Lazutkin would find me and say, 'Mike, you want to drink tea?; Because I told him I like to drink tea for a ten-minute break. . . . Then we'd go back to doing whatever we were doing.

"That was kind of the existence I had up to the collision."

Related Links:

Life on Mir
Foale Increment

Profile: Michael Foale
Michael Foale Oral History (PDF)

Text only version available

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