Veteran astronaut Mike Foreman leaves NASA
For the third time in less than a month, one of NASA’s experienced space flyers has opted to leave the space agency.
This week, astronaut Mike Foreman follows Stephen Frick and Tony Antonelli in leaving NASA. All three of the astronauts have flown into space twice, and all three are retired U.S. Navy captains. Foreman’s last day with NASA was Friday, July 31.
“Mike is a great American who has served our nation for 35 years,” said Chris Cassidy, chief of the Astronaut Office at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. “We have been lucky to have him as part of our NASA team, and wish him and his family the best.”
Foreman was chosen to join the elite astronaut corps in 1998 and rode to orbit in one of the agency’s now-retired orbiters. Both of his missions took place in the final years of the Shuttle Program.
His first flight, on Space Shuttle Endeavour, was STS-123, which took place in March of 2003. The mission helped put the “International” into the International Space Station with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA) Experiment Logistics Module and the Canadian Space Agency’s Dextre robot sent to orbit.
Foreman’s next flight, STS-129, was aboard Atlantis and saw two logistics carriers with some 30,000 lbs (13,608 kg) sent to the ISS. The payload for this mission included replacement parts for station’s power systems.
When all was said and done, Foreman had spent some 26 days on orbit. Foreman also conducted five spacewalks, where he accumulated 32 hours and 19 minutes outside the safe confines of either the shuttle or station.
As an aviator with the U.S. Navy, Foreman has more than 7,000 flight hours – in 50 different types of aircraft.
Like so many of his colleagues in NASA’s Astronaut Office, Foreman worked on an array of other tasks while with the space agency. These included chief of External Programs at NASA’s Glenn Research Center and Safety Branch chief in the Astronaut Office. Foreman also worked on NASA’s Commercial Crew Development Program.
Since the close of the shuttle era, NASA has seen its human space exploration program split in two. While the agency works to develop the new Orion spacecraft and super heavy-lift Space Launch System (SLS)booster for missions deep into space, commercial firms are working to provide privately produced spacecraft. These Commercial Crew Program vehicles have been slated to fly as early as 2017, with the first flight of SLS and Orion currently planned for 2018.
Jason Rhian spent several years honing his skills with internships at NASA, the National Space Society and other organizations. He has provided content for outlets such as: Aviation Week & Space Technology, Space.com, The Mars Society and Universe Today.