Shuttle-Mir Stories

Roger Billica

Billica on Star City Life

Roger Billica, a NASA flight surgeon, was Medical Operations Working Group Leader, during Shuttle-Mir. In his Oral History, he talks about life in Star City, Russia.

Billica says, "I was staying in the Orbita, which is their equivalent of a hotel there at Star City. [It is] very different. And [at this time it's] still very early in the program, so [the Russians] are suspicious. They've got guards. It's military...

"So I'm up late at night with my team, working on this document - up at two and three in the morning. [And I'm] walking back through the snow to the Orbita. [And I find] It's shut down. ... [Now,] when you leave [the Orbita], you left your key at the counter; you didn't take it with you. And there was one night I got back there about two or three in the morning and they had shut down...

"There was no one around. So there was no way for me to get to my room. So I ended up sleeping on the couch in the lobby of the Orbita ... worrying at any moment that some guard - a military guard - was going to come in ... wondering who was this American sleeping in the lobby of the hotel... So, [we had] little adventures like that. It wasn't ever a problem..."

Related Links:
Roger Billica Oral History (PDF)
Star City Life
Cultural Background
Profile: Roger Billica

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