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Mir crewmembers are usually able to speak with the ground during an approximately 10-minute-long comm (communications) pass, once each orbit. For U.S. Mir astronauts, email was another way to communicate, and David Wolf discusses email in his Oral History.
Wolf says, "Email was a critical part of the communications. I honestly felt it was better than the real-time audio . . . because it never failed that 'the phone would ring' . . . at the wrong time, when my hands were full, [and] I needed to be doing something."
Wolf praises email, saying, "You can answer it and send it when you want, edit it until it means what you like." And he says that email "had more [emotional] impact on me. I could feel the people's words. I liked the email the best . . ."
Regarding the privacy of personal communications while onboard Mir, Wolf says, "I knew a lot of people were reading it [the email], but we were still pretty candid with each other."
Profile: David Wolf
David Wolf Oral History (PDF)
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