• Nationality

    British / American

  • Missions

    STS-45, STS-56, STS-63, STS-84 (up), Mir NASA5 (Mir EO-23 and 24), STS-86 (down), STS-103, Soyuz TMA3 (Expedition 8)

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Michael Foale

Astronaut and Cosmonaut


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Video Greeting

Michael Foale is a British-American astro­physi­cist and NASA astronaut. 

Colin Michael Foale was born on January 6, 1957 in Louth, England. He attend­ed the University of Cambridge, Queens’ College, received a Bachelor of Arts in Physics, Natural Sciences Tripos, with 1st class hon­ors. While at the Cavendish Laboratories, Foale com­plet­ed his Doctorate in Laboratory Astrophysics in 1982

As a post­grad­u­ate at Cambridge University, Michael 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 at McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Corporation. In June 1983, he joined the NASA Johnson Space Center. As a pay­load offi­cer in the Mission Control Center, Michael Foale was respon­si­ble for pay­load oper­a­tions of com­mer­cial satel­lites deployed on space shut­tle mis­sions STS-51G, 51‑I, 61‑B and 61‑C.

Foale was select­ed as an astro­naut can­di­date in June 1987. Before his first space­flight he test­ed shut­tle flight soft­ware in the Shuttle Avionics Integration Lab sim­u­la­tor. In prepa­ra­tion for a long-dura­tion flight on the Russian Space Station Mir, Foale trained at the Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia. 

Michael Foale is a vet­er­an of six space mis­sions, and is the only NASA astro­naut to have flown extend­ed mis­sions aboard both Mir and the International Space Station. He was the sec­ond Briton in space and the first to per­form a space­walk. Until 17 April 2008 he held the record for most time spent in space by a US cit­i­zen: 374 days, 11 hours, 19 min­utes, and he still holds the cumu­la­tive-time-in-space record for a UK citizen. 

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. His assign­ment at JSC was as Chief of the Soyuz Branch, Astronaut Office, sup­port­ing Soyuz and International Space Station oper­a­tions, and space suit devel­op­ment. In 2013, Foale retired from NASA to devel­op an elec­tric air­craft, with a goal to reduce the cost of fly­ing by 90 per­cent, as part of his pas­sion for Green Aviation. He is cur­rent­ly an advi­sor for the Inspiration Mars Foundation. 

Michael Foale is a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society (FRAeS) and Fellow of the Institute of Physics (FInstP). In 2005, Foale was award­ed Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE).

Michael Foale will unfor­tu­nate­ly not be able to be present in per­son, but will present a video mes­sage.