[Michael Foale] [NASA Logo]
National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center
Houston, Texas 77058

Biographical Data

NAME: C. Michael Foale (Ph.D.)
NASA Astronaut

Born January 6, 1957, in Louth, England, but considers Cambridge, England, to be his hometown. Married to the former Rhonda R. Butler of Louisville, Kentucky. They have two children. He enjoys many outdoor activities, particularly wind surfing. Private flying, soaring, and project scuba diving have been his other major sporting interests. He also enjoys exploring theoretical physics and writing children's software on a personal computer. His parents, Colin and Mary Foale, reside in Cambridge, England. Her parents, Reed & Dorothy Butler, reside in Louisville, Kentucky.

Graduated from Kings School, Canterbury, in 1975. He attended the University of Cambridge, Queens' College, receiving a bachelor of arts degree in Physics, National Sciences Tripos, with 1st class honors, in 1978. While at Queens' College, he completed his doctorate in Laboratory Astrophysics at Cambridge University in 1982.

Member of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, England, and Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association.

While a postgraduate at Cambridge University, Foale participated in the organization and execution of scientific scuba diving projects. With the cooperation of the Greek government, he participated as both a member of one expedition and the leader of another, surveying underwater antiquities in Greece. In the fall of 1981, he dove on the 1543 ocean galleon, "The Mary Rose," as a volunteer diver, learning excavation and survey techniques in very low visibility conditions. Pursuing a career in the U.S. Space Program, Foale moved to Houston, Texas, to work on Space Shuttle navigation problems at McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Corporation. In June 1983, Foale joined NASA Johnson Space Center in the payload operations area of the Mission Operations Directorate. In his capacity as payload officer in the Mission Control Center, he was responsible for payload operations on Space Shuttle missions STS-51G, 51-I, 61-B and 61-C.

Selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in June 1987, Foale completed a one-year training and evaluation program in August 1988. Before his first flight he flew the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory (SAIL) simulator to provide verification and testing of the Shuttle flight software, and later developed crew rescue and integrated operations for International Space Station Alpha. He has served as Deputy Chief of the Mission Development Branch in the Astronaut Office, and Head of the Astronaut Office Science Support Group. In preparation for a long-duration flight on the Russian Space Station Mir, Foale trained at the Cosmonaut Training Center, Star City, Russia. A veteran of four space flights, Foale has logged over 160 days in space including 10-1/2 hours of EVA. He was a mission specialist on STS-45, STS-56 and STS-63, and served as Board Engineer 2 on Mir 24. Foale currently serves as Assistant Director (Technical) and is also assigned to STS-104, the third Hubble Space Telescope (HST) servicing mission. In order to install new instruments and to upgrade systems to enhance the scientific capabilities of the orbiting HST, a record six spacewalks are scheduled during the mission. Launch is targeted in early 2000.

STS-45 (March 24 to April 2, 1992) was the first of the ATLAS series of missions to address the atmosphere and its interaction with the Sun. STS-56 (April 9-17, 1993) carried ATLAS-2 and the SPARTAN retrievable satellite which made observations of the solar corona. STS-63 (February 2-11, 1995) was the first rendezvous with the Russian Space Station Mir. During the flight he made a space walk (extravehicular activity) for 4 hours, 39 minutes, evaluating the effects of extremely cold conditions on his spacesuit, as well as moving the 2800-pound Spartan satellite as part of a mass handling experiment. Most recently, Foale spent 4 months aboard the Russian Space Station Mir. He launched with the crew of STS-84 aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis on May 15, 1997. Following docking, he joined the crew aboard Mir on May 17, 1997. Foale spent the following 134 days conducting various science experiments and helping the crew resolve and repair numerous malfunctioning systems. On September 6, 1997 he and Commander Anatoly Solovyev conducted a 6-hour EVA to inspect damage to the station's Spektr module caused by the June 25 collision with a Progress resupply ship. Foale returned on October 6, 1997 with the crew of STS-86 aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis.


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