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Teams - William D. "Bill" Reeves, Flight Director

Bill Reeves served as a NASA flight director during Phase 1. As a flight director, Reeves was responsible for planning, directing, and controlling the activities of the Space Shuttle team during these human space flight operations. He was also a member of the first NASA consultant group to visit the Russian Control Center prior to STS-63, which was the first Shuttle-Mir rendezvous mission that occurred in February 1995.

Reeves was in the TsUP, the Russian Mission Control Center, during STS-63 assisting with the mission planning, problem solving, and negotiations. During this mission, the Space Shuttle Discovery's thruster unexpectedly began to leak fuel. Reeves had the responsibility of explaining the situation to Vladimir Solovyev and Victor Blagov, the Mir flight director and deputy flight director, as well as devising a solution that would not harm the Mir or the sensors on the attached Soyuz.

His participation in the historic partnership between the United States and Russia was not a role that could have been possible early in his career. In his Oral History, Reeves notes the difference in Russian-American relations in the 1990s versus several decades ago:

"With the fears and everything else and all of the movies you'd seen and all the stereotypes you'd been exposed to your whole life, you know, I expected to go over there and see a lot of closed doors and restricted access to everything else, and it was just quite the opposite.

"I couldn't believe it. It was just whatever you want. And we opened up to them and they opened to us and it was great, really great.

"By the way, the people, the individuals, that we've worked with so closely over the [Shuttle-Mir] years have had those discussions about the historical problems we've had in the past and the fear of each other. And now, working so closely together, we have those discussions a lot socially. We sit down and talk about it, and it's as awesome and mind-boggling to them as it is to us."

Bill Reeves Oral History (PDF)

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Curator: Kim Dismukes
Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty