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Shuttle-Mir Stories - Foale on Life on Mir

In his Oral History, U.S. Mir astronaut Michael Foale talks about living in the cluttered confines of the Mir space station.

"On the Mir," he says, "it's very easy to lose each other, where you don't know where the other people are. It's not [because] the Mir is such a big space, it's because it's such a cluttered space. You're basically winding your way through . . . tunnels to go to one part of the station to another, so that equipment just isolates you from other parts of the station.

"So especially if you've gone into one of the farther storage areas, where there may be food boxes stored or space suits stored or just trash..., then there's a whole bunch of stuff in front of you that is floating around and you can't even be seen from the node area on Mir.

"So there [were] times when I would suddenly pop out of my warren, you know, out of my hole, into the node, and Vasily [Tsibliev] would say, 'Mike, have you seen Sasha [Lazutkin]? I haven't seen him all morning.' I'd say, 'No, I haven't seen him all morning.' You know, we didn't know where Sasha was.

"Well, we knew he had to be on station. But we didn't know where he was.

"So you could easily spend a day without talking to crew members, and that we considered -- the Mir-23 crew and myself -- not a good thing. So we made an effort to try and tag up, especially for lunch and often just for a ten-minute tea break, basically, in the base block."

Related Links:

Life on Mir
Foale Increment

Profile: Michael Foale
Michael Foale Oral History (PDF)


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Curator: Kim Dismukes
Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty