The increased heterogeneity of International Space Station (ISS) crews′ composition (in terms of nationality, profession and gender) together with stressful situations, due to space flight, can have a significant impact on group interaction and cohesion, as well as on communications with Mission Control Center (MCC) and the success of the mission as a whole. Culturally related differences in values, goals, and behavioral norms could influence mutual perception and, thus, cohesive group formation. The purpose of onboard “Interaction-Attitudes” experiment is to study the patterns of small group (space crew) behavior in extended space flight. Onboard studies were performed in the course of ISS Missions 19–30 with participation of twelve Russian crewmembers. Experimental schedule included 3 phases: preflight training and Baseline Data Collection; inflight activities once in two weeks; post-flight measurement. We used Personal Self-Perception and Attitudes (PSPA) software for analyzing subjects′ attitudes toward social environment (crewmembers and MCC). It is based on the semantic differential and the repertory grid technique. To study the content of interpersonal perception we used content-analysis with participation of the experts, independently attributing each construct to the 17 semantic categories, which were described in our previous study. The data obtained demonstrated that the system of values and personal attitudes in the majority of participated cosmonauts remained mostly stable under stress-factors of extended space flight. Content-analysis of the important criteria elaborated by the subjects for evaluation of their social environment, showed that the most valuable personal traits for cosmonauts were those that provided the successful fulfillment of professional activity (motivation, intellectual level, knowledge, and self-discipline) and good social relationships (sociability, friendship, and tolerance), as well. Post-flight study of changes in perceptions, related to Real Self-image, did not reveal significant differences between the images of Russian crew-members and representatives from foreign space agencies. A certain difference in perceptions was found in cosmonauts with more integrated system of evaluations: after space flight they perceived foreign participants as “closer” to their Ideal, while Russian crew-members were perceived mostly as “distant” from Ideal Self of these subjects. Perceptions of people from Earth were also more critical. These differences are likely to be manifestations of interpersonal perception stereotypes. Described patterns of changes in perceptions of cosmonauts, who have performed space flight as a part of ISS multinational crew, allow us to suggest the recommendations for development of ISS crew training, in particular, it seems useful to increase the time of joint training for deepening of intercultural interaction.
Research Containing: Behavior
Introduction Salutogenesis and posttraumatic growth represent personal growth and improved functioning as a result of experiencing major challenging events. These developments are not simply resilience (a return to a baseline level of well-being), but positive change in such characteristics as self-understanding, relations with others, personal values, and life goals. Space agencies and space psychologists, primarily concerned with deleterious effects and their countermeasures, have not paid much attention to such beneficial long-term aftereffects of spaceflight. Purpose To document what changes veterans of the Soviet/Russian space program report as a consequence of their experiences. Method Twenty retired male cosmonauts Mir and/or ISS cosmonauts filled out relevant self-report questionnaires. Results: Although there was little change in the relative rankings of a list of values, the scale showed an overall increase in the rated importance of all personal values, although only the increase in Self-Direction reached statistical significance. Responses to one of two post-space growth questionnaires based on the Post-Traumatic Growth Inventory (PTGI) were compared to the means of two comparison groups: 152 first-time mothers, and 926 respondents who had experienced various forms of trauma. The cosmonauts reported higher scores on the dimension of New Possibilities when compared to the new mothers and the traumatized group, and higher scores on Personal Strength and Overall PTG compared to the latter. Respondents who had spent more than a year in space, and those who flew on both Mir and ISS, were the most likely to report positive change in the domain Appreciation of Life. The other post-space career questionnaire reflected major changes in Perceptions of the Earth and of Space, and increases on a number of other dimensions, including New Possibilities and Changes in Daily Life, with positive scores that significantly exceeded the original report. Discussion It appears that cosmonauts do experience various aspects of positive personal growth following their space flights. As long-duration missions are (and will remain) the norm, it is important for the space agencies and the voyagers themselves to develop a better understanding and possible enhancement of this phenomenon.
Relation Between Motility, Accelerated Aging and Gene Expression in Selected Drosophila Strains under Hypergravity Conditions
Motility and aging in Drosophila have proven to be highly modified under altered gravity conditions (both in space and ground simulation facilities). In order to find out how closely connected they are, five strains with altered geotactic response or survival rates were selected and exposed to an altered gravity environment of 2g. By analysing the different motile and behavioural patterns and the median survival rates, we show that altered gravity leads to changes in motility, which will have a negative impact on the flies’ survival. Previous results show a differential gene expression between sessile samples and adults and confirm that environmentally-conditioned behavioural patterns constrain flies’ gene expression and life span. Therefore, hypergravity is considered an environmental stress factor and strains that do not respond to this new environment experience an increment in motility, which is the major cause for the observed increased mortality also under microgravity conditions. The neutral-geotaxis selected strain (strain M) showed the most severe phenotype, unable to respond to variations in the gravitational field. Alternatively, the opposite phenotype was observed in positive-geotaxis and long-life selected flies (strains B and L, respectively), suggesting that these populations are less sensitive to alterations in the gravitational load. We conclude that the behavioural response has a greater contribution to aging than the modified energy consumption in altered gravity environments.
Development and swimming behavior of Medaka fry in a spaceflight aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia (STS-107)
A space experiment aimed at closely observing the development and swimming activity of medaka fry under microgravity was carried out as a part of the S*T*A*R*S Program, a space shuttle mission, in STS-107 in January 2003. Four eggs laid on earth in an artificially controlled environment were put in a container with a functionally closed ecological system and launched on the Space Shuttle Columbia. Each egg was held in place by a strip of Velcro in the container to be individually monitored by close-up CCD cameras. In the control experiment, four eggs prepared using the same experimental set-up remained on the ground. There was no appreciable difference in the time course of development between space- and ground-based embryos. In the ground experiment, embryos were observed to rotate in place enclosed with the egg membrane, whereas those in the flight unit did not rotate. One of the four eggs hatched on the 8th day after being launched into space. All four eggs hatched in the ground unit. The fry hatched in space was mostly motionless, but with occasional control of its posture with respect to references in the experimental chamber. The fry hatched on ground were observed to move actively, controlling their posture with respect to the gravity vector. These findings suggest that the absence of gravity affects the initiation process of motility of embryos and hatched fry.
Drosophila melanogaster and the future of 'evo-devo' biology in space. Challenges and problems in the path of an eventual colonization project outside the earth
Space exploration, especially its future phase involving the International Space Station (ISS) makes possible the study of the effects on living systems of long-term expositions to such a strange environment. This phase is being initiated when Biological Sciences are crossing a no-return line into a new territory where the connection between phenotype and genotype may be finally made. We briefly review the paradoxical results obtained in Space experiments performed during the last third of the XX Century. They reveal that simple unicellular systems sense the absence of gravity changing their cytoskeletal organization and the signal transduction pathways, while animal development proceeds unaltered in these conditions, in spite of the fact that these processes are heavily involved in embryogenesis. Longer-term experiments possible in the ISS may solve this apparent contradiction. On the other hand, the current constraints on the scientific use of the ISS makes necessary the development of new hardware and the modification of current techniques to start taking advantage of this extraordinary technological facility. We discuss our advances in this direction using one of the current key biological model systems, Drosophila melanogaster. In addition, the future phase of Space exploration, possibly leading to the exploration and, may be, the colonization of another planet, will provide the means of performing interesting evolutionary experiments, studying how the terrestrial biological systems will change in their long-term adaptation to new, very different environments. In this way, Biological Research in Space may contribute to the advancement of the new Biology, in particular to the branch known as "Evo-Devo". On the other hand, as much as the Space Adventure will continue involving human beings as the main actors in the play, long-term multi-generation experiments using a fast reproducing species, such as Drosophila melanogaster, capable of producing more than 300 generations in 15 years, the useful life foreseen for ISS, will be important. Among other useful information, they will help in detecting the possible changes that a biological species may undergo in such an environment, preventing the uncontrolled occurrence of irreversible deleterious effects with catastrophic consequences on the living beings participating in this endeavour.
BACKGROUND and PURPOSE. The task of working with a multi-national team during the 24-hour-a-day, 7-day-a-week operation and continued assembly of the International Space Station (ISS) presents a daunting array of cultural and leadership challenges for managers supporting this enterprise. Building and operating such a complex space structure requires the effective integration of technical system constraints, space environmental factors, and programmatic policy considerations with the human factors issues associated with multinational crews and mission control personnel. Focusing on the human factors issues, we will outline and discuss issues that have important cultural and leadership implications for management. METHODOLOGY. We have reviewed findings from empirical research involving humans in space and have integrated these with impressions from direct participant observation of the mission control operational environment at the NASA Johnson Space Center. We then contrasted the management challenges posed by previous short-term American missions with those of ongoing long-duration international missions. We also extrapolated from these findings to suggest evidence-based hypotheses about specific operational management challenges that could be tested in future work involving manned missions to the Moon and Mars. RESULTS. A number of human factors issues were isolated that relate to managerial concerns, such as cultural differences, styles of coping with stress, and group dynamics over time. These factors suggest the importance of a set of key leadership skills and techniques that can be used by managers who are involved with ISS mission operations. Examples of these leadership skills include maintaining a balance of task roles and supportive roles, engaging in active listening, demonstrating respect, and recognizing cognitive bias. CONCLUSIONS. Careful attention to these issues should support NASA managers in adapting to the changes in the operational environment caused by changes in typical mission profiles. An ongoing partnership between the research and operations communities can maximize the efficiency of this equilibration process.
Leadership Challenges in ISS Operations: Lessons Learned from Junior and Senior Mission Control Personnel
PURPOSE. The International Space Station (ISS) is operated by a multi-national, multi-organizational team that is dispersed across multiple locations, time zones, and work schedules. At NASA, both junior and senior mission control personnel have had to find ways to address the leadership challenges inherent in such work, but neither have had systematic training in how to do so. The goals of this study were to examine the major leadership challenges faced by ISS mission control personnel and to highlight the approaches that they have found most effective to surmount them. We pay particular attention to the approaches successfully employed by the senior personnel and to the training needs identified by the junior personnel. We also evaluate the extent to which responses are consistent across the junior and senior samples. Further, we compare the issues identified by our interview survey to those identified by a standardized questionnaire survey of mission control personnel and a contrasting group of space station crewmembers. METHODS. We studied a sample of 14 senior ISS flight controllers and a contrasting sample of 12 more junior ISS controllers. Data were collected using a semi-structured qualitative interview and content analyzed using an iterative process with multiple coders and consensus meetings to resolve discrepancies. To further explore the meaning of the interview findings, we also conducted new analyses of data from a previous questionnaire study of 13 American astronauts, 17 Russian cosmonauts, and 150 U.S. and 36 Russian mission control personnel supporting the ISS or Mir space stations. RESULTS. The interview data showed that the survey respondents had substantial consensus on several leadership challenges and on key strategies for dealing with them, and they offered a wide range of specific tactics for implementing these strategies. Interview data from the junior respondents will be presented for the first time at the meeting. The questionnaire data showed that the US mission control sample reported a level of support from their management that compared favorably to national norms. American mission control personnel and Russian crewmembers reported higher supervisor support than American crewmembers and Russian mission control personnel. We will present the specific issues underlying these findings and compare and contrast the results from the two datasets. CONCLUSIONS. Although specific to space station personnel, our results are consistent with recent management, cultural, and aerospace research. We aim to use our results to improve training for current and future mission control personnel.
Behavioral Issues Associated with Long-Duration Space Expeditions: Review and Analysis of Astronaut Journals Experiment 01-E104 (Journals): Final Report
This report describes a content analysis of personal journals that were maintained for this purpose by NASA astronauts during expeditions onboard the International Space Station (ISS). Using methods developed during previous analogue research, the study provides the first quantitative data on which to base a rank-ordering of the behavioral issues associated with long-duration space operations. The first level of analysis identified the relative salience of 24 major categories of issues with behavioral implications, among which the top 10 categories account for 88 percent of all journal entries: Work, Outside Communications, Adjustment, Group Interaction, Recreation/Leisure, Equipment, Events, Organization/Management, Sleep, and Food. The second-level of analysis identified 108 subcategories within the major categories and calculated their relative frequencies and temporal distributions. The third level of analysis focused on the tone of entries as an indicator of specific problems and general morale, using a metric defined as Net Positivity/Negativity (NPN); results of the NPN analysis support hypotheses concerning a third quarter phenomenon, which also is explained in the report. Responses to questions asked before, during, and after the expeditions suggest that living and working onboard the ISS is not as difficult as the astronauts anticipate before starting their six-month tours of duty. Astronauts reported that they benefited personally from writing in their journals and recommended continuation of the research. Eamples of journal entries and graphic representations of data are used to illustrate the quantitative analyses. Together, the entries and analyses provide a comprehensive description of ISS operations from the crew perspective. Example entries included in the report concern activities, events, and observations and reflect the normal ups and downs of daily life onboard an orbital space station. It is important to note that no single journal entry, nor even a subset of entries, accurately describes an entire expedition, but rather, the most salient issue at the time the entries were written. The results show that NASA’s efforts concerning interpersonal issues, teamwork, psychological support, and leadership have been particularly effective. Operational implications of study results are summarized and then presented in the form of specific recommendations to facilitate living and working in space, whether onboard the ISS, a spacecraft bound for an asteroid, or an interplanetary ship.
The analysis of space crew's communication with mission control (MC) is the standard operational procedure of the psychological support group in the Institute for Biomedical problems, Russia. For more than 20 years it is used for the monitoring of the behavioral health of Russian crewmembers in space. We apply quantitative speech content analysis to reveal relationship dynamics within the group and between the crew and MC. We suggest that the features of individual communicative style reflect psychological emotional status and individuality of communicator, his coping strategy, fixed by POMS. Moreover, the appearance of certain psychological complexities would become apparent both in POMS profile change and in communicative style change. As a result of the validity check we arrived to a new objective method of crews’ dynamic psychological monitoring. This method would not take any of astronauts’ time, would not need any on-board equipment, and at the same time it is based on real performance in space, i.e. astronauts communication with MC.
The objective of this paper is twofold: (a) to review the current knowledge of cultural, psychological, psychiatric, cognitive, interpersonal, and organizational issues that are relevant to the behavior and performance of astronaut crews and ground support personnel and (b) to make recommendations for future human space missions, including both transit and planetary surface operations involving the Moon or Mars. The focus will be on long-duration missions lasting at least six weeks, when important psychological and interpersonal factors begin to take their toll on crewmembers. This information is designed to provide guidelines for astronaut selection and training, in-flight monitoring and support, and post-flight recovery and re-adaptation.