Lincolnshire-born NASA astronaut retires after 30 years

An experienced British NASA astronaut, who was born in Lincolnshire, has retired from the agency after 30 years.

Michael Foale CBE, born in Louth, has managed 375 days in space, visits to the Russian Space Station Mir, the International Space Station (ISS) and six shuttle missions.

These missions included repairing and upgrading the Hubble Space Telescope and studying solar interaction with the atmosphere.

He also did four space walks over his career, amounting to 23 hours.

In the suit-up room at Kennedy Space Center, Michael Foale smiles as a suit technician helps him don his launch and entry suit before liftoff on the STS-103 mission in December 1999. Photo: NASA

In the suit-up room at Kennedy Space Center, Michael Foale smiles as a suit technician helps him don his launch and entry suit before liftoff on the STS-103 mission in December 1999. Photo: NASA

Michael Foale’s work at the American space agency has included chief of the Astronaut Office Expedition Corps, assistant director (technical) of the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, and deputy associate administrator for exploration operations at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

Most recently, he helped Soyuz and ISS operations, and space station spacewalk activity and spacesuit development.

Michael Foale, Expedition 8 commander and NASA ISS science officer, “juggles” fresh fruit in the Destiny laboratory of the International Space Station (ISS) in 2004. Photo: NASA

Michael Foale, Expedition 8 commander and NASA ISS science officer, “juggles” fresh fruit in the Destiny laboratory of the International Space Station (ISS) in 2004. Photo: NASA

Michael Foale was made a CBE in 2005 for services to space exploration. Photo: NASA

Michael Foale was made a CBE in 2005 for services to space exploration. Photo: NASA

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said: “We salute Mike and his contributions to NASA as an accomplished member of the astronaut corps.

“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 endeavor.”

Michael Foale will now focus on one of his interests, the advancement of green aviation technology.

Michael Foale uses the Kodak 760 digital still camera to photograph a Slow Growth Sample Module for the Binary Colloidal Alloy Test-3 experiment. Photo: NASA

Michael Foale uses the Kodak 760 digital still camera to photograph a Slow Growth Sample Module for the Binary Colloidal Alloy Test-3 experiment. Photo: NASA

Michael Foale, Expedition 8 mission commander and NASA ISS science officer, works with the Russian biomedical “Pilot” experiment (MBI-15) in the Zvezda Service Module on the International Space Station (ISS) in 2003. Photo: NASA

Michael Foale, Expedition 8 mission commander and NASA ISS science officer, works with the Russian biomedical “Pilot” experiment (MBI-15) in the Zvezda Service Module on the International Space Station (ISS) in 2003. Photo: NASA