Spaceflight Now: STS-103 Mission Report

Dr. C. Michael Foale
STS-103 Mission Specialist No. 4
Posted: Dec. 14, 1999

Photo: NASA
Personal Data:
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.

NASA Experience:
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. Foale has served as Deputy Chief of the Mission Development Branch in the Astronaut Office, Head of the Astronaut Office Science Support Group, and Assistant Director (Technical). 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 is assigned to STS-103, 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, four spacewalks are scheduled during the mission.

Spaceflight Experience:
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.

Explore the Net
NASA Human Spaceflight - Space agency Web site dedicated to International Space Station and space shuttle programs.

Press kit - Official STS-103 mission press kit.

Shuttle Media Reference Guide - Complete in-depth look at space shuttle systems and facilities.

Shuttle Countdown Online - NASA Kennedy Space Center site with pre-launch information.

Hubble Space Telescope - Home page of NASA's first Great Observatory.

HST Servicing Mission 3A - NASA site focused on this servicing mission of Hubble.

European Space Agency - partner in HST program and has two astronauts flying on STS-103.

United Space Alliance - prime contractor responsible for daily shuttle processing work.

Thiokol - Manufactures the shuttle's solid rocket boosters.

Rocketdyne - Division of Boeing that builds shuttle main engines.

Lockheed Martin - Corporation that builds the external fuel tank.

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