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.