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Scott Gahring was NASA's Operations Lead for the Thomas Increment. His tasks included coordinating communications between Mir astronaut Andrew Thomas, NASA, and Russia from the TsUP (Russia's Mission Control Center).
As lead of the Increment 7 Mir Operations Support Team, Gahring managed a group that included a mission science representative, a biomedical engineer, a payloads systems engineer, an operations support tech, a flight surgeon, and a public affairs representative. As an Ops Lead, Gahring also accompanied Thomas during his training in the U.S. and in Star City, Russia. The many hours spent together enabled the two Mir 7 team members to have a good rapport and provided both a solid knowledge of the experiments that Thomas would be performing on-orbit.
Prior to his Ops Lead duties, Gahring was technical assistant to Phase 1 Program Manager Frank Culbertson. Additionally, Gahring worked in the Space Station Program Office and served in the United States Air Force. In his Oral History, Gahring commented on his job in Russia:
"Probably like three-quarters of the way through, after we'd gotten past our major problems, and the light was out there at the end of the tunnel, and you start thinking about what you're going to have to go back to, and you start thinking, 'You know, this is a pretty good job.'
"You've got a small team of people who pretty much know what they're doing, . . . and we're getting to go to this foreign country. You've got a small team, you're in charge. It's a relatively noble goal, and you're getting to report at a high level . . .
"[A] lot of people didn't really think Phase 1 was that much, but it was a good program. It was a good thing to have done. I don't care what anybody says. It was a nice way to serve, a nice thing to do."
Scott Gahring Oral History (PDF)
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Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty