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In his Oral History, U.S. Mir astronaut Michael Foale discusses the value of Shuttle-Mir: Phase 1 of the International Space Station program.
Foale says, "Shuttle-Mir has its greatest benefit in that it drew the space professionals in both Russia and America together so they know each other and understand each other, and, therefore, can complete the International Space Station Program. That's the true value of the Phase 1 Program. The rest of it is all microscopic . . .
"We have learned a few technical things . . . [for example,] in terms of how to control [a space station's] attitude in the event of power loss [and] what to do in certain cases if we have too much water condensation. But this is small stuff compared to the overall big win, which is we understand each other to the extent that we trust each other to do the International Space Station together.
"Without Phase 1, we couldn't do it. . . . We'd have ended up doing Phase 1-type flights on the space station in a very haphazard way . . . Frank Culbertson said it a few times, that without Phase 1 you couldn't do the space station. It's because of the way it's allowed managers, astronauts, engineers, all to know each other."
Benefits of Shuttle-Mir
Foale Increment: Collision and Recovery
Profile: Michael Foale
Michael Foale Oral History (PDF)
Tours | Timeline | Shuttle-Mir Background | Shuttle Flights & Mir Increments | Mir Expeditions
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Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty