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Flying with Strangers: Postmission Reflections of Multinational Space Crews

  • Peter Suedfeld
  • Kasia E. Wilk
  • Lindi Cassel
Chapter
Part of the Space Technology Library book series (SPTL, volume 29)

Abstract

After the Space Age began as part of the national rivalry between the USSR and the United States, space exploration gradually took on a multinational character as both countries included astronauts from their respective allies, and eventually from each other, in their missions. This trend became institutionalized in the Shuttle-Mir program and in the construction of the International Space Station (ISS). The latter is the first truly international, as opposed to multinational, space capsule, in that it does not belong to and was not built by one country. In previous cases, one national space agency was always the host and crewmembers from other nations were perceived and treated as guests. This “guest” status, which usually went with being a minority among a majority from the “host” nation, led to considerable dissatisfaction and frustration.

This chapter examines the archived reminiscences of both majority and minority astronauts and cosmonauts, relying primarily on the method of thematic content analysis (TCA). TCA is a set of techniques whereby trained scorers identify and quantify specific variables in narratives. In this study, TCA procedures were used to analyze how majority-minority status and other variables (e.g., gender, mission duration, and Space Age era) affected satisfaction, feelings about crewmates and home agencies, personal values, ways of coping with problems, and other psychosocial reactions of the mission participants. The study drew upon astronauts’ and cosmonauts’ memoirs, autobiographies, media interviews, and oral history interviews as the databases on which TCA scoring was performed.

Keywords

International Space Station Home Agency Thematic Content Analysis Home Team Mission Duration 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.University of ManchesterW.J. Stelmaschuk and Associates LtdManchesterUK
  3. 3.Providence Health CareVancouverCanada

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