- Press Release
- August 12, 2022
NASA Names Space Veteran Michael Foale as Deputy Associate Administrator for Exploration Operations
NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe today appointed astronaut C. Michael Foale as Deputy Associate Administrator for Exploration Operations reporting to both NASA’s Associate Administrators for Exploration Systems and Space Operations.
Foale will advise the mission directorate senior leadership on immediate, near term opportunities to refocus and realign training, operations, engineering support and life sciences research towards accomplishing the Vision for Space Exploration.
“Mike brings his unique science and mission background to NASA Headquarters during a critical and exciting time for the agency. His knowledge, hands on experience, forward thinking and passion for exploration will enhance the efforts of the Exploration Systems and Space Operations Directorates for furthering the Vision for Space Exploration,” Administrator O’Keefe said.
Foale’s principal objectives are to ensure primary user needs, lessons learned and potential risk areas have been considered based on input from recognized experts from across NASA. The experts include astronauts, scientists, researchers, flight operators, logisticians, maintenance directors and other key personnel from critical areas affecting operations. He will work with key leadership across operations and research disciplines to assess NASA’s human space flight activities and enhance alignment of current space operations and new exploration programs.
His tasking with the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate will entail leading activities and program planning efforts in support of advanced human and robotic space exploration missions. He will participate on multi-discipline teams to define and develop exploration scenarios, project objectives, mission architectures, flight operations and technology development strategies.
He will coordinate the transition of development programs to operational activities within established milestones to validate and test achievement of operational concepts and objectives.
NASA selected Foale as an astronaut candidate in June 1987. Before his first space flight, he flew the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory (SAIL) simulator to provide verification and testing of Space Shuttle flight software. He 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, and as Assistant Director (Technical) of NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC). He is a veteran of six space flights and has logged more than 374 days in space, including four space walks (EVA), totaling 22 hours and 44 minutes. He holds the U.S. record for time spent in space.
He served as a mission specialist on STS-45, STS-56, STS-63 and STS-103. He was Flight Engineer 2 on Mir 23 and Mir 24 (ascent on STS-84 and return on STS-86). He served as ISS Expedition 8 Commander on his last flight, October 18, 2003 to April 29, 2004.
The Expedition 8 crew launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan aboard Soyuz TMA-3 and docked with the ISS on October 20, 2003. His six-month tour of duty aboard the ISS included a 3 hour, 55 minute EVA. Mission duration was 194 days, 18 hours and 35 minutes. At its conclusion Foale became the U.S. record holder for most cumulative time in space having logged 374 days, 11 hours and 19 minutes.
Born January 6, 1957, in Louth, England, he considers Cambridge, England, his hometown. He graduated from Kings School, Canterbury, England in 1975. He attended the University of Cambridge, Queens’ College, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in Physics and Natural Sciences in 1978. He completed his doctorate in Laboratory Astrophysics at Cambridge University in 1982.
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 to work on Space Shuttle navigation problems at McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Corporation. In June 1983, Foale joined JSC in the payload operations area of the Mission Operations Directorate. As a 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.
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