Britain's most experienced astronaut retires after 26 years at NASA

Monday, August 12, 2013

Michael Foale on the Mir

British-born astronaut Michael Foale has retired from NASA after dedicating the past 26 years to space exploration. Considered the most experienced British-born astronaut in human spaceflight, Foale is said to have spent 375 days in orbit, visiting the International Space Station, Mir platform and completing work on the Hubble Space Telescope.

Foale was present in the 1997 Mir station incident, where it was accidentally rammed by a cargo ship. He told the BBC: "I felt the fall of the air pressure in my ears and realised it was fairly severe but not so severe that we wouldn't have time to evacuate. It all started to fit together and a plan even started to form in all our minds that we would be ok -- or we could be ok."

Foale will now be spending his time helping to advance green aviation technology, his aim being to develop an electric aircraft. NASA administrator and former fellow astronaut, Charles Bolden, said in a statement: "Starting with his first flight, shuttle mission STS-45, when we flew together in 1992, Mike has worked tirelessly to support NASA's quest to explore the unknown. I know Mike will go on to do more great things as he continues to support the aerospace industry in his new endeavour."

NASA representatives have saluted Mr Foale for his contributions to the space exploration industry and regard him as one of the great members of the astronaut corps.