NASA Shuttle-Mir Oral
Edited Oral History Transcript
Interviewed by Rebecca Wright
Houston, Texas – 7 July 1998
Rebecca Wright, Carol Butler, Mark Davison]
[After the collision, the biggest priority was to re-establish the
power that was available from the existing solar arrays on the base
block and on what we called Module D, which is Kvant-2] and get the
station powered up. The way we did that, over that thirty-hour period
and then going on into the next week, was to basically allow the batteries
-these are just large lead accumulators that are in the base block,
just in front of the commander's and port engineers' cabins, take
those out from behind the panels, disconnect all the cables, which
are very heavy, and then move those batteries to the other module,
Module D, to recharge them. So that way we got the toilet running.
We'd take batteries from Module D back to the base block. We were
also switching out batteries from the module Priroda, which was not
powered, and the module Krystall, which also was not powered. All
of this involved, because of the very extensive overloading of the
station with general equipment over the many years, involved us having
to continually move, totally rearrange the module that we were getting
the batteries from, because we had to get to the panels behind which
the batteries lay. And that occupied our time for about a week, I
would say, after the collision.
During that time frame, the one experiment I had that was running
-and we powered up again after the thirty hours or so -was the greenhouse
and also the beetle experiment, and those two -actually, it turned
out the greenhouse is powered off base block power, anyway, from the
mode, and this is kind of a surprise to everybody, I think, on the
ground, even to me, that that was the source. So it didn't lose power
much longer than it took to get power back on the base block.
The beetle experiment was the only other experiment I had really continually
in the flight, and that was in Priroda. It was without power for thirty
hours, but sometime in there I moved the beetles from the Priroda
block module to the area near the greenhouse and Krystall, and that
was the configuration for both of those experiments for the rest of
my increment. They were being powered off the base block, even though
the modules themselves were unpowered. The nice thing about the Krystall
having the greenhouse on its own being powered off the base block
was that it provided light in that module, because that module had
no lights, of course. No module that's unpowered has lights. And that
made it just slightly easier to, for example, pull out batteries out
of that area or whatever.
About a week after the collision, proposals came up from the ground
as to what we thought of doing an internal EVA using Orlon DMA suits
to go into the Spektr module and establish basically an adapter in
the hatch interface there, in the hatchway, to allow the power that
we had disconnected in sealing off the Spektr module to be -it once
again established into the base block power supply system from the
Spektr solar arrays. Well, the Spektr solar arrays, there are four
of them. One of them had been severely damaged by the collision. The
other three potentially could provide power, and the ground was feverishly
coming up with basically a power adapter plug that was built into
a hatch that could carry this power from the Spektr module across
the interface, through the node, and into the base block.
In that subsequent week we did a lot of work with spacesuits, just
pushing them through the hatchways to see whether they would fit.
The other concern in that whole question process with the ground was,
during the EVA of two people going into Spektr, what would the third
person do? It was going to be me at that point. Where would I go?
Pretty quickly it became apparent that I was going to have to be in
the Soyuz module while they did this EVA internally. That was discussed,
and we did a lot of discussion as a crew. The ground came up a number
of times, led by Sergei Krikolov at that time, asking us about the
practicality of using these suits inside the node and then going into
the Spektr module and, in contingencies, going into the Soyuz if we
couldn't repressurize the node after the EVA, what we call an IVA,
actually, but in a spacesuit.
That kind of went on for about two weeks, and there was some preparation
of suits during that time frame, two Orlon DMA suits. Vasily and Sasha
did the best suit fit checks in those suits. Vasily had already done
one EVA in an Orlon AM suit but not in a DNA on that particular increment,
so they both had to do a new series of fit checks in those suits.
Vasily also, in that time frame, moved all of the life support equipment
for the spacesuits from the airlock in front, too, which is a powered
module, and moved that and was going to come up with ways of anchoring
it in the node so that they could use it to do this EVA. I should
say that there was a lot of misgivings from Vasily especially as to
exactly how this EVA was going to go, how it would be done.
Within three weeks, I think, another Progress came up, and that was
Progress 235, I guess, I think. 234 hit us, right? The 235 came up.
From a human point of view, there was one or two videos and things
for me to look at from my family. There was a replacement hard drive
for my laptop so that I could do some stuff, and chocolate and stuff,
but also there were some EVA tools that were sent up to try and help
with this internal IVA.
Once we had the Progress docked, the most important item in that Progress
was this interface adapter that the Russians had built so quickly
to go into the Spektr hatchway as well as another piece of equipment
which was sent up, which I want to mention just because it was such
a huge headache for us and was totally inappropriate for the situation.
There was some contract that had been agreed to by Energia long ago
to send up a huge experiment called MAPS. It's an item that's about
the size of a desk, but roughly cylindrical form that just, within
a centimeter, passes through a hatchway if the hatchway has no cables.
Well, they hadn't reckoned on all the cables that we had there, and
so I remember we wasted maybe two days planning and trying to transfer
this particular -and it's full of ammonia, is the point, which is
a pretty noxious chemical.
We had to transfer it -they were trying to get it to the docking adapter,
I think, was the ultimate goal. No. They wanted to get it to the airlock
to take it outside for some reason, but we couldn't see any way. This
was a classic, classic case of engineers not thinking hard about what
the current configuration is on the station, because this thing was
not going to fit past all of the gyrodynes that had subsequently been
installed in the Module D, the [unclear] where the airlock was. So
we told the ground there was no way, without taking down the gyrodynes,
which are critical to the station flying at that point, in Module
[unclear] Two to get it to the airlock. And so, as sort of, "Oh,
what are we going to do with this thing? It's in the way. It's in
the Progress. The Progress is going to have to be de-orbited,"
we had to get it out of there. We didn't want to have it in the base
So we spent roughly a day taking down hardware and taking it all the
way through the Krystall module to the docking adapter, which the
Shuttle only goes to. This then occupied for the rest of Phase One
the docking adapter and has never been used. It is a total lemon.
But the Russians have been paid, I think, by -and it's an American
company or German company that owns this. It's not a NASA project.
It's a private deal, either with Boeing or with the Germans or something,
but this experiment obviously earned the Russians some money to launch
it. They launched it and fulfilled their contract, but it was just
a massive headache for the crew. We wasted a lot of time on that in
this same time frame because we had to unload the Progress to get
all the other things to the EVA that we were going to do to connect
up the Spektr power.
About this time, the commander had a medical condition that brought
into question his doing the EVA, so I then was put forward for the
EVA. I think about the third or fourth week, I started entering into
flight preparation for the EVA. I was being asked questions by our
people from the MOS team in TSUP, what I thought I could do, what
I needed in terms of training, and I basically, just on the fly, would
come up with -basically I felt that I should be in the suit twice,
once for a fitting, and second for a practice move-around, then do
the real EVA into Spektr module. I think the Russians were pushing
me a little bit to try and do it with just one pressurized suit run
including the fitting so that they would conserve on the oxygen that
would be used up in that test.
But that was all going very smoothly, I thought, and it was while
the Flight engineer Sasha Lazutkin was late in the evening one day
with a large list of cables, like 100 cables, that he had to disconnect,
that passed through the base block hatchway into the mode then lead
into Kvant Two, which connected the gyrodynes, which control the altitude
of the station. All these cables were going to have to be disconnected
for the EVA day, because all those hatches had to be closed in the
node, but these cables, meanwhile, are performing critical functions
as part of the station's scheme to keep it in attitude. It was like
two days before the planned EVA, he disconnected one cable out of
sequence. And this is a long, long list. And this caused the station
to have a guidance and control failure.
So then we went into a big slow tumble out of attitude as the gyrodynes
spun down. As they spin down and break, the [unclear] in the gyrodyne
gets transferred to the station. The station has to spin off in an
arbitrary way. That put us into a very heavy power-down mostly because
of the ground misconfiguration. The ground didn't spot how bad this
particular error was. So we spent probably an orbit or more with everything
powered up when we should have been powered down. This was actually
a worse power-down situation than after the collision, and the trouble
was it was late at night for us when we were to be in bed. It was
like one o'clock in the morning when this happened. We should have
been to bed anyway, but the pressure to work was so heavy.
The end result of that was, there were times when we learned something
very important that's only recently come to light, that the Soyuz,
when it's connected to the station power system, requires power from
the station to go back to its internal batteries. That's not to say
the batteries aren't good. The batteries are good on the Soyuz, but
while it's switched over to the station, it needs power from the station
to switch back, and because the station was totally powered down in
the night passes, we learned about this very fact because, just as
we had gone into darkness while we still had some power from the solar
arrays but we had no battery power from the station side, the ground
had said, "Try and use the Soyuz to talk to us," and it
was as we went into the night that we realized we couldn't power up
the Soyuz because we had no power from the station side. That was
a fairly fundamental lesson, I think, that the Russians are aware
of and they see it as a flaw in the scheme of things.
I mention this because there have been a lot of reports in the press
about, oh, it was impossible for the crew at one point to ever undock
the Soyuz and come home. Well, that was true for a moment. For the
time that we were in darkness, that was true, but the rotation and
the orientation of the station was such that when we came into sunlight
thirteen minutes later, enough power came on the station that we could
then go and switch the Soyuz back over to its own internal power.
Anyway, as a result of that power-down and tumble, the ground lost
faith, I think, in a lot of things. They realized that they were driving
too hard. I don't know where this decision really came from, but from
a crew point of view, we were told the EVA to connect up the Spektr
power would be performed by the next Russian crew, and this kind of
took the burden -and they also moved up the launch, I think, of the
next Russian crew a week. No, they shortened the stay of the overlap,
and they canceled the flight of the Frenchman who was meant to be
coming up. The whole pressure of the previous three weeks was all
geared to trying to reestablish configuration so the Frenchman could
come up on time and therefore earn the Russians a bit more money in
that regard, but that was agreed by the French, I think, more than
anyone else, to delay that flight of that person, Leopold Aharts.
The next two weeks before the next crew came up were pretty quiet.
The [unclear] packing. I did my greenhouse work. I did some Earth
observations, actually. I did quite a lot of Earth ops and learned
to change the camera mags on the Hasselblad pretty well.
When the next crew, the Mir 24 crew, came up, we had tried to get
the station into pretty good shape for them and to hand over. Sasha
Lazutkin had spent a lot of time trying to get handover items ready,
to tell the next crew where everything was, what the things were,
and I had spent a lot of time with him doing that. I also -fifty percent
of my time was spent just mopping up water. It was like cave diving,
going into dark module with full-length suit on -I mean the flight
suit on to protect myself from the course of water and mop up the
water, either with underwear or used clothes or a form of water sucker
that goes into an air bag. But all those problems were a separate
debrief topic, but basically mopping up water in space is very tricky
because you always get bubbles in with the water that you're sucking
up, so you waste the volume that you put the water into, and then
you have this big problem of trying to separate, either by spinning
or whirling your bag, trying to get the water to go to one end and
the air to the other and then squeeze the bags so most of the air
comes out, but you always end up mixing it up by the time you've done
this. That was really my major activity at that time, was mostly water
clean-up. This is all from condensation.
At some point the Russians told us that we had about seven tons of
water missing. Some of that probably was not on the station, but a
large part of it was. Some of it maybe had already left in previous
Progresses. Once the Russian crew, the [unclear] crew, came up, the
handover went very smoothly. The two crews overlapped only by a week.
I rapidly got to know my new crew, and I learned basically when my
commander arrived, Anatoly Soloviev, I was going to do an EVA with
him in about three weeks to go and look at the exterior Spektr to
see what damage had occurred and to try and find the leak in the hull.
They had on board with them in the Soyuz a whole set of scaffolding
and poles, etc. That weighed about 300 pounds, but could be assembled
on the exterior of the Spektr module attached to various hot points
there so that we could build up a framework on which to work and then
execute repairs. I was quite interested in that, excited in that.
Wright: Had you met this crew at all before, or was
this your first meeting?
Foale: No, this was the first crew I'd actually trained
with, and I had trained with them for about a total of twelve, eighteen
hours, maybe, in Star City, no more than that, in the December month
of 1996, and so I sort of knew them fairly well. However, I knew my
Mir 23 crew much better socially before flight, although I'd never
trained with them, because they had been in the U.S. while I was training
here on experiments.
Once the Mir 23 crew left, we very rapidly had to go into an operational
phase whereby we had to move the Soyuz that had docked on to Kvant
One, which brought up the Mir 24 crew and was occupying the post that
the Progress normally occupies. We had to move that around the station
to the place where the Mir 23 crew had just vacated with their Soyuz,
which is on the node. The reason for that was twofold; one was because
of thermal condition of the station, but two was we could have that
Soyuz there so they could do the CVA and then use the Soyuz as a means
to get this crew that's doing the EVA out of there if they can't repressurize
the station in the event of a failure.
So, for that reason, like the day after Vasily and Sasha left, we
rapidly powered down the station into a kind of housekeeping mode.
I got a call only a few hours beforehand that they wanted to do this
photo survey during the flyaround of the Spektr module. Again, this
is a pretty unusual thing for them to do. You don't train for it,
but I then went to a lot of effort to try and come up with the various
camera schemes, video and film, and practiced getting into the so-called
suit so that I could exit out of my seat, which is to the right of
the commander, go over him while he's flying, and not kick him, and
squeeze up through the small hatch to go into the what we call the
BO, the living volume [unclear]. We haven't got a good word for it.
It's called the living quarters on the Soyuz, anyway, into the upper
volume and then use the window in the blister there to do photography
while Anatoly flew around. I was quite pleased to be doing it. It
was going to be a great view for me. The others weren't going to get
a view like that, but I was very worried that I would mess up the
whole thing because it had such little preparation. But that was my
role, and we practiced it very carefully before we undocked. I practiced
opening up the hatch while we all strapped down in there and then
getting up without kicking Anatoly in the face in the suit, and when
we undocked, we flew around.
I did exactly what we planned, and we got some very good video and
stills of the damage as we flew basically 180 degrees around the station
over twenty-five minutes or so. About five minutes before the redocking,
I was told to come back down from where I was floating up in the living
area, come feet first, not kick Anatoly in the head, and swing to
the side and get that hatch closed again for the docking. Then we
redocked, and that was the first time that I'd left the station basically
in, you know, three months, three and a half months.
After redocking on the node at this point, we then had the Kvant One
free, and the next day -it was the next day, this was like day three
of Mir 24 -we then had to set up the TORO [phonetic] system. That's
the system that was used to control manually the Progress docking
that took part in the collision. We had to set up the Toro system
again to allow for the Progress that had been undocked, 235, to come
and redock and occupy that port on Kvant One, again for thermal reasons,
to keep the station cool in that region.
And so the next day the Progress came in, and it was very interesting.
That was kind of the first sign that we were going to have these computer
attitude control error problems, because it was as the Progress came
up from the Earth, background of the Earth from about two kilometers,
it came in pretty well using the KURS system automatic, but because
the station then had a computer failure at about two or three hundred
feet, the KURS system no longer would work on the Progress. So Anatoly
was told by the ground to go manual, using the TORO. And this was
only, you know, a twist of fate, because that was exactly what had
put us in the whole collision situation beforehand. But Anatoly was
told to do this right when the Progress had already basically nulled
all of its closing rates. So it had a pretty stable configuration
as it was coming in on its own axis.
It was very pleasing to see the Anatoly was given a chance -he was
very pleased to do this -to dock this vehicle from about two or three
hundred feet, and he docked it successfully manually, using the TORO.
I should add that the TORO, the TV screen, did have a momentary dropout
of about twenty feet, but it only lasted about ten seconds. Vasily
had experienced one on his penultimate TORO docking attempt that lasted
like thirty seconds, and that's where they aborted the docking attempt
and pushed it to the side and it didn't hit. That was when Jerry Linenger
was present. When Vasily did the collision, we also had a data dropout
for about five, ten seconds. We also had then a shorter one when Anatoly
did it. So what I'm telling you now is there is a problem in this
com link somewhat close in that causes a dropout in the image.
Anyway, that docking was successful. We got the Progress basically
opened up again, and we then hunkered down basically to prepare for
this EVA, Anatoly and I, and this was going to be in the Orlon M suit,
the new suit that Jerry Linenger had used with Vasily one time prior.
Anatoly was a new commander, and Pavel was an unflown engineers. They
were trying to get to grips with the rest of the station, and there
were failures going on like Electron had to be periodically switched
out, switched in. I know Anatoly had to work on the toilet urine reclamation
system in Kvant Two for a lot of the time. I carried on my water-mopping-up
duties, but one of the things I did specifically was to assemble this
scaffolding that we were going to take outside with us, and it takes
up the length of this conference table, maybe, but I had just enough
room in the base block if I cleared stuff out to put it all together
and label it.
So over the next week or so, Anatoly and I formed a plan as to how
we were going to carry all this stuff out, because we didn't have
any carrier for it. We had to come up with this ourselves, and we
worked out ways using Velcro that was sent up, to Velcro it down and
put it in order so that we could carry it out.
Anatoly also progressively started to check out the Orlon M suits,
and I helped him to a limited fashion in the final stages of the suit
preparation. He would gather together all the oxygen bottles, the
CO2 scrubber, etc., and only we had to do servicing, like cleaning
out bubbles out of the water coolant system or actually doing electrical
check-outs, would get involved with Anatoly on that.
About three weeks into the flight, like September 6th or something
of Mir 24, we did the EVA. EVA is a whole topic on its own, but the
most notable thing about the EVA for me was, I had the role of opening
the hatch and closing the hatch. I was the last person in the Mir
Program to close the hatch successfully. I don't know if that's significant
or not. I've talked to Pavel about it since then, because the hatch
has been broken ever since.
The EVA itself, I consider fairly straightforward. I translated using
three tethers, always have two tethers at any one time attached to
the structure as I translated from the Kvant module, which was diametrically
opposed to the Spektr module. I translated outside the Kvant Two module,
which is the airlock, up onto the EVA cranes called the Strella. I
then attached some of this scaffolding to that while Anatoly came
out of the airlock and followed me, and Anatoly then waited while
I translated to the base of the Strella crane, which is about sixty
feet. Anatoly freed the other end of the crane, and I then cranked
this crane over with Anatoly on the end of it through 180 degrees
to the other side of the station to Spektr, delivering Anatoly to
the far end of Spektr so he could start his inspection and excavation
of the insulation there.
I then basically sat at the base of the crane for most of the EVA,
which lasted for six hours, moving him left, right, up a bit, down
a bit, using the two handles on the crane. Once or twice I would translate
to Anatoly actually at the work site and hold his feet while he would
try and dig in inside underneath the insulation. He was using a razor
knife to basically cut away at the insulation. We had a camera with
us called Gleesa, and Gleesa was a fisheye camera that had a tape
recorder, a fitted recorder built into a hermetically sealed box,
and we used that to take photographs -I mean video, basically -underneath
the insulation, which was pretty good. It showed the hull to be undamaged
in that area even though the exterior panels were buckled and bent
there and some of support was bent. Gleesa also was on by accident,
actually, as it turned out, but it took some great video of the whole
Mir scene, because it was basically hanging from Anatoly, with beautiful
views of the Mir against the Earth with this camera. That's in file
here at Building Eight if anyone ever wants to look at it, under NASA
We didn't find the hole, as I said. We were meant also to establish
a cap on the outside of the base block for a vacuum valve that would
allow subsequent removal of the base block, a CO2 scrubbing system
called Vosduk from the Kvant module. We didn't have enough time to
do that because the excavation took too long. We ended up not establishing
the scaffolding outside, so we ended up leaving the scaffolding tied
off on the end of Spektr, some of which has been used since then,
but not much.
The only part of the Phase One program we had out there was a dosimeter,
an external dosimeter array called the Benton dosimeter, and I pulled
that in just before we ingressed the airlock. Ingressing the airlock
was interesting in that the O-rings on the airlock looked totally
intact. There was no damage there. To me, the airlock hatch looked
in good condition. The mechanism opened really well when I opened
it up. It was interesting, when I opened the airlock, it opens outwards,
and it sort of pulled me out a little bit with the residual air pressure.
Even though it said zero on the gauge, it was just enough to pull
me out, and that's kind of interesting. Closing the airlock, I did
note some resistance in closing the airlock at the first few turns
of the wheel. The ground was in a hurry to get us inside and finish
up, because we were past our EVA time. But I asked to wait because
I wasn't sure of the feel of this lock. It turned out that there's
a little what they call a switch [unclear]. It's a little lever that
controls the direction of the closing of the hatch or opening of the
hatch. I had not moved the lever totally to the closed position, and
I just felt it get stiff a little bit, so I opened up the big wheel
that closes the hatch all the way open again with this lever in the
open position and then moved it hard past a stop, a resistance stop,
to a closed position, and it felt better that time, and then I closed
it and it felt much smoother. I mention all this in detail because
this procedure may have caused the same problem in the subsequent
closing of the hatch that bent the mechanism. The hatch closed nicely,
and we repressed.
From the EVA onwards, we basically were in a -oh, I've missed out
one whole thing here. In between times -that was three weeks after
the Mir 24 crew arrived, we did the external EVA, there was the internal
EVA by the Mir 24 crew to go into Spektr. Now, that was an interesting
exercise on its own. Basically, all the cables were dismantled correctly,
the station was in a stable mode when we did the IVA. I had practiced
with the commander how to operate the various valves between the Soyuz
reentry module and the living module and also the node, so a succession
of hatches, two hatches, so that in the event of the crew having entered
the Spektr module, coming back out of the Spektr module, not being
able to close that hatch, which is a vacuum there, then the only place
the crew could go would be into the Soyuz. The interesting thing about
that IVA was that the backup plan was, if they can't repress the airlock
for whatever reason -and it was considered that this was probably
the biggest risk we had -the only place they could go would be into
the Soyuz living area, but that hatch doesn't open from the node side
where the guys were. So there had to be some way that that hatch could
be opened for them.
So what we did was I entered into the Soyuz, I went into the reentry
module, closed both hatches, and there was air on both sides of the
hatch. They, in their suits, in the node, depressed. They found that
as they depressed down to about half an atmosphere, I then opened
up my reentry module hatch going from [unclear] up into the BO -that's
the living volume -transferred to the hatch going into the node, between
the Soyuz and the node, and I opened that hatch, but not opened it
because the pressure on my side was so much greater and that was holding
it closed, but I opened the docks totally. So it was now a free hatch.
The only thing holding it closed was the pressure in Soyuz against
the lower pressure in the node.
I then went back into the Soyuz reentry module, and there's only just
room for me, really, to kind of float across the seats there, close
my hatch there, and I was in radio com with them there, and they then
continued the depressurization of the node. The way they were depressurizing
the node was they were opening a hole in the hatch that goes to Spektr,
and Spektr has vacuum in it because it's got a hole in it. So the
air would go from the node into Spektr, and Spektr would kind of fall
down rather slowly. The depressurization of the node was still pretty
fast, which tells us that we have a pretty big hole in Spektr, nonetheless,
probably a half-inch-size hole.
During that depress, the Flight engineer started moving his -what
happened? There were two mistakes made. There was one -I don't quite
remember it. I don't remember the first one, but the second, which
was pretty notable, was that the [unclear] engineer went round about
vacuum so that he'd move his hand and he could feel air moving out
of the glove past his hand, and his suit wasn't pressurizing. So it
was clear that he had a glove leak, because the glove clips on with
clips. This is the old suit, not the new suit, so it has only three
dogs holding the glove on, as opposed to four. And so both Anatoly
and I, we both told him to stop moving his hand. He stopped moving
This demonstrated an interesting difference between our programs,
in that the ground immediately just said, "Well, okay. Repressurize."
They repressed to a breathable atmosphere, about half an atmosphere,
using station air, not the Soyuz air, from the base block side up
through that hatchway. So we're wasting air each time we do this.
Then Anatoly got out of his suit on his own, but it's a rear-entry
suit, you can open the door, got out of his suit, and he got a spare
glove they already had placed in there -very well prepared -and he
just stuck that on Pavel's wrist, changed the glove out, and he got
back in his suit, closed himself up on his own, and continued the
depress right back down to vacuum. That's a big difference. I think
if that had happened with Shuttle, we would never have done the EVA
that day. We'd have gone through agonies of reviewing the glove leak
and all the rest, but Russians said, "Hey, go and get another
glove, put it on him, and it'll work."
They did a fairly successful connect-up of all the cables bar one,
I think, in Spektr, and they found two items of interest to me: my
laptop computer and some photographs, and that was about it, and,
I think, a camera for the greenhouse. We put all that stuff back.
They closed the hatch, repressed the node using station air, and I
finally was able to come on out, and we didn't have to use any of
the back-up schemes whereby if they couldn't repress the node, I'd
have had to evacuate the air out of the living volume of the Soyuz,
using some commands I have in the command module. They would have
then had to open that undogged hatch, just pushed on it and come in,
tried to get themselves past the docking mechanism and into the living
volume, and then close that hatch, and actually close it, and then
I would have allowed air to go in from my section of the Soyuz into
their section of the Soyuz, assuming all the valves are closed, and
then they could get out of that suit. We also had a spare air pack.
We call it a "portable oxygen supply" right at the front.
Yes, it's portable. It's two large oxygen bottles. That was also in
that area to give them extra air supply to pressurize that module
in that case. Didn't have to do that, though. But it was a well-thought-out
plan, I think, by the Russians for that contingency.
That was the IVA. The IVA was successful to the extent that it allowed
two solar arrays of the four inspected to be connected up, and it
also allowed the third one to be half connected up. This substantially
increased the power on the station so that there was the potential
to power up pretty quickly the module Krystall totally, and this was
just the beginning of the drying-out of the station, where finally
we could start drying it out. The water, as I say, had collected on
all the cold modules in Priroda and in Krystall especially.
What else? A disappointment in that IVA was that the power connection
of the solar arrays on Spektr to the main bus of the base block was
successful. However, the voltage was not quite high enough in the
Spektr module to operate the solar array-seeking mechanism that allows
the solar arrays on the Spektr module to seek the sun and rotate.
So this meant that initially after the IVA, the solar arrays were
not in a good position to get solar energy on them to power the station.
So initially we didn't have that power. It was during my EVA outside
that Anatoly specifically rotated the solar arrays with a pole, a
boat hook, and they moved fairly easily -they're magnetic, but they
move fairly easily -so that they would be positioned at a forty-five
degree angle to the X-axis of the station, which is the base block,
and that would then allow the station to fly in a pretty optimal attitude
whereby the sun would illuminate those arrays and the other arrays
of the station complex and basically kind of get at least 50 percent
of the energy they'd hoped to get for the station.
Because of that, though, we didn't go into repowering Priroda, repowering
Krystall after the IVA. We had to wait until after the EVA, where
we had repositioned those arrays, to even start repowering the station
up. And so I always had the hope that I was going to repower Priroda,
I'd do some of the experiments they had there, but that was forever
delayed because we never had enough power.
After the EVA, like September 6th, 7th, then it was only a month or
so before I was due to come home, three weeks before Shuttle docking,
and we started to seriously start to mop up all the water, and my
job was mostly pack and mop up water behind all of the panels in Krystall
and Priroda and progressively dry out those modules. And we're talking
about balls of water that are a cubic meter in size, immersing some
of the electronic equipment. But we did that progress, and we put
warm air ducts from the base block, which is always very hot, about
ninety-five degrees, and we take the air from there and try and blow
it into these really cold modules that are down in the forties. Initially
you would actually build up more moisture because you're putting warm,
moist air into cold air, but slowly the module would sort of dry up,
and once we had the module basically dry, and it wasn't as dry as
the ground really wanted it, but we'd report it dry, we then powered
up those modules. Well, the ground actually put the power on, taking
power from the solar arrays of Spektr to power up those modules.
We first powered up the Krystall, and it dried out fairly nicely,
and then the last week before docking [unclear] 86, we finally dried
up Priroda enough to power-on Priroda, and that was an amazing thing
for me, to see finally all the stations that I could get to, at least,
was powered-up finally. And then the final area we had to dry out,
which was the hardest, was the docking module where this big thing
called MAPS, this big bomb, ammonia bomb, was, the size of a table,
you know, and very awkward to deal with. That was sitting in there
along with all our food canisters. It was kind of our attic, basically.
We then had to try and dry that area out, and that was the hardest
and last place that we dried out before [unclear] 86 came.
The packing, I don't think, really deserved any special note. I packed
up a lot of experiments that were available to me from Priroda, many
of which I hadn't really use fully. C-gel was one, Mim was another.
I packed up the greenhouse experiment, but left most of the hardware
for subsequent use by -it's never going to be used again, but the
hope was it was going to be used in the future by a Russian crew.
Really, from that point onwards, [unclear] 86 docked, and I would
say at that point my debrief becomes an [unclear] 86 crew debrief.
Dave Wolf's impressions, I'll let him talk about, but I was very aware
that Dave -no one would know what they were getting into coming on
board. I didn't feel that the conditions were unsafe to your existence
there, in that always the Soyuz had my highest confidence. I felt
the Soyuz was a very reliable piece of hardware in that you could
always get to the Soyuz quickly, within a few minutes, and close the
hatch. We made that even faster after the collision so we could do
it in about three minutes, I think. We just prepared better and left
it better prepared in general. I always felt that a crew member could
be on board the Mir, and it's certainly a degree of hardship, but
basically safe, where their life wasn't severely threatened.
But on the other hand, I knew that Dave didn't know how hard this
place was in terms of the moisture, the water build-ups, and the general
clutter, having to always move things around on the station. And in
particular, I knew he didn't know much about how to handle the station
when it was unpowered, when it had lost control. But, you know, lucky
for them, him and Andy, that only happened like once, I think, during
David's time, maybe twice, and I think only happened once during Andy's
time, just before he came back, actually. So really, the station took
a turn for the better after I left. [Laughter]
Wright: Well, maybe we should stop there for today
Wright: We thank you for your next input, and if
you have time, we would like to at least come back for another -
Foale: Well, what I'd like to do is -I've basically
given you pretty much a synopsis of the whole flight. If there are
any areas that come up now with the others and you want to come back
with me, I think that's what you should do.
Wright: I would like to, because you've given us
a good overview, and there's certain things we'd like you just to
give your perceptions of.
Foale: Good. All right. All right.
Wright: That's what we'd like to do for the next
Foale: I don't know if I covered exercise in the
previous one, but there are areas now that are under hot discussion
at the moment. Exercise is one of them. Sleep compartments is another.
Crew habitability. But I've given you more of the story of the flight,
as opposed to debrief specific functions.
Wright: Yes, and we have in your debriefs that -Charlie
Brown sent those to us.
Foale: See, there you're going to get more detail
on that stuff.
Wright: And then this last time that we come back,
if you'll give us one more hour, what we'd like to do is we'll have
some specific topics, and you can just give us your perceptions and
then anything else you'd like to add at the end.
Foale: All right.
Davison: When you were on your EVA, for those six
hours manning the crank, were you consumed by your job or did you
do any sightseeing while you were . . .?
Foale: Oh, I had almost -I had 80 percent sightseeing
to do. It was great.
Wright: Those are the types of things that we want
to come back and get from you.
Foale: That was just a fantastic experience.
Davison: Your feelings with the crew changing and
adaptability and just was there tension or was there -just those types
of things so we can get how you really feel. So the next time will
be kind of a free-for-all.
[End of interview]