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Shuttle-Mir Stories - Thomas on Communications

Several U.S. Mir astronauts commented on the value of email communications, onboard Mir. The seventh and final U.S. Mir astronaut, Andy Thomas, agrees.

Thomas says in his Oral History, "It turns out email . . . is very important, perhaps more important than voice communication. I missed email when it didn't work -- and there were quite a few times that it failed. . . . You really notice it when it's not there because it provides a link to people. . . . It's like getting a letter in the mailbox, something you can sort of hold in your hand and you can reread and prepare a response to. You can relive it."

Thomas goes on. "In that sense, it's actually sometimes more rewarding to receive an email . . . from someone, rather than talk to them on a voice contact, which is over in a couple of minutes. So I really enjoyed email very much. I think email is very important for the people on these kinds of missions."

Related Links:

Communications
Thomas Increment
Profile: Andy Thomas

Andy Thomas Oral History (PDF)

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Curator: Kim Dismukes
Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty