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Bob Castle served as a NASA flight director during Phase 1. As a flight director, Castle's responsibilities included the planning, directing, and controlling activities of the space shuttle team during human space flight operations. During a portion of Phase 1, he was the lead for NASA's Mission Operations Directorate.
Castle was the lead flight director on STS-71, the first Shuttle-Mir docking mission. In his Oral History, Castle recalled this historic event:
"For me, the whole mission had come together, I think, at the docking. We watched all the docking live [at Johnson Space Center, Mission Control Center]. We had TV of the whole thing. I even had little cross-hairs taped on my TV set at the console so I could see if they were lined up when they came in.
"But when I watched it on TV and the two docking systems came together, I could see on TV the jets firing. The shuttle jets fire to push the two vehicles together. I could see the structure actually rebound. And when it rebounded, it stayed together. The shuttle stayed docked to the Mir. At that point, I felt this enormous almost wall of relief that says, 'Okay, we've got it. This is the hardest part. This is the riskiest part. This is the trickiest part for the whole joint mission. The rest of it, okay, if this mechanism works, it works. If it doesn't work, it doesn't work. Nothing we're going to do about it.'
"But everything that we could do has all come together," he said.
Bob Castle Oral History (PDF)
U.S. Mir Residents | Astronauts | Cosmonauts | Teams | Oral Histories | Shuttle-Mir Stories
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Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty