Skip the biography headerNASA Logo National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center
Houston, Texas 77058
Mike Foale (NASA photo s87-45890)

Biographical Data

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

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, hiking, and project scuba diving have been his other major sporting interests. He also enjoys exploring physics and writing software.

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

EXPERIENCE: While a postgraduate at Cambridge University, Foale participated in the organization and execution of scientific scuba diving projects. 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. 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 the International Space Station (ISS). In preparation for a long-duration flight on the Russian Space Station Mir, Foale trained at the Cosmonaut Training Center, Star City, Russia. Foale also served as Chief of the Astronaut Office Expedition Corps, Assistant Director (Technical) of the Johnson Space Center, and Deputy Associate Administrator for Exploration Operations, NASA Headquarters. He is currently an active NASA astronaut, supporting Soyuz and ISS operations, as well as ISS EVA and space suit development.

SPACE FLIGHT EXPERIENCE: Foale participated as a crew member on six space missions. STS-45 (March 24 to April 2, 1992) was the first of the ATLAS series of missions to study the atmosphere and solar interactions. STS-56 (April 9-17, 1993) carried ATLAS-2 and the SPARTAN retrievable satellite that made observations of the solar corona. STS-63 (February 2-11, 1995) was the first rendezvous with the Russian Space Station Mir. During STS-63 he made his first space walk (EVA) with Bernard Harris for 4 hours, 39 minutes, evaluating extremely cold spacesuit conditions, and exploring mass handling of the 2800-pound Spartan satellite. His next flight was aboard the Russian Space Station Mir, launched on STS-84 on May 15, 1997 to join the Mir 23 crew. Initially Foale conducted science experiments, but then helped reestablish the Mir after it was degraded by a collision and depressurization. He conducted a 6-hour EVA in the Russian Orlan spacesuit with Anatoli Soloviev to inspect damage to the station's Spektr module caused by a collision of a Progress resupply ship. Foale returned to Earth on STS-86, October 6, 1997, having spent 145 days in space. From December 19-27, 1999 he flew on STS-103, an 8-day mission, to repair and upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope. During an 8 hours and 10 minute EVA, Foale and Claude Nicollier replaced the telescope’s main computer and Fine Guidance Sensor. On October 18, 2003 Foale launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan on Soyuz TMA-3 and docked with the ISS on October 20, 2003, where he and Alexander Kalerie stayed until April 29, 2004, and conducted one 3 hour, 55 minute EVA in Orlan space suits. Foale served as Expedition-8 Commander. Mission duration was 194 days, 18 hours and 35 minutes. Foale has logged over 374 days in space including four space walks totaling 22 hours and 44 minutes.