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Shuttle-Mir Stories - Foale on Life in Russia

During Phase 1, several NASA team members took their families with them to Russia. In his Oral History, Michael Foale discusses life for him and his family in Star City.

"We started off with a pretty shaky start back in November of 1995," Foale relates, "and then lived there through two winters. If you're Russian about this, you always count seasons by the winters . . .

"At that time, you couldn't find much food in the grocery store. There weren't any grocery stores as such; you had to go and get food out from the back of trucks and things. The first thing we did, I remember . . . [was buy] . . . a sled so that [my wife] Rhonda could pull the kids on the sled, going around the little kiosks and stores, to go and buy food. Now, this was a big hardship for Rhonda, to begin with."

However, "Things got steadily better," Foale says. "In fact, Russia has changed incredibly in terms of services, [in the] ability to get food, etc., [and in] communications... Moscow is unrecognizable compared to the way it was . . .

"So those hardships did get better for us, and indeed we adapted. We learned how to do things, and Rhonda [and I] got better at Russian language . . ."

Related Links:

Star City Life
Cultural Background

Foale Increment

Profile: Michael Foale
Michael Foale Oral History (PDF)


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Curator: Kim Dismukes
Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty