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Don Puddy was the original NASA Co-chair for the Phase 1 Crew Training and Exchange Working Group. This group developed the requirements for crew functions, programs, schedules, and crew training.
As part of his role in Phase 1, he was a participant in numerous meetings, including the one that followed the signing of the US-Russian Space Agreement and NASA Administrator Dan Goldin's visit to Russia (June-July 1992). His duties also included negotiating with officials of Russian space-related organizations, as well as US commercial companies and agencies.
On numerous occasions, Puddy traveled to Star City for meetings and discussions. His colleague Tommy Capps explained in his Oral History a situation where he and Puddy had to use their strong persuasive skills with their Russian counterparts to manifest an on-orbit training aid:
Capps says, "At first the Russians were very resistant to that [concept]. I remember Don Puddy [and me] [for] hours, talking about it. But then they locked on and just love it now. I mean, it's something that they think is extremely important. We were lucky that Aleksandr Aleksandrov backed us and he understood the benefits."
Capps goes on to say, "Don Puddy and I and [Yuri] Kargapolov and Aleksandrov worked really well together, because we became very good friends. We became a real team. I think one of our successes was that we could move through a lot of material very quickly. The four of us together could 'crank' and we had an awful heavy workload for a long time, so we had to move through the material."
Kargapolov says, in his Oral History, "When we started working on this joint program, my American counterpart was Donald Puddy. I would like to express my admiration and gratitude to this person. I really learned a lot from him."
Puddy's 31-year career with NASA also included working with the first flight-partnership with the Russians by serving as a flight director during the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project. He retired from the NASA program in October 1995.
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Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty