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Space Science

Next ISS Crew Incompatible 32

RobertB-DC writes "The International Space Station's replacement crew is being pulled for the B-Team. While the Reuters story quotes officials talking about "certain considerations", a Moscow Times article lays it on the line: '"Incompatible" ISS Crew Ditched' due to 'a psychological incompatibility.' The Russian-American team had already been shaken up once, when the original American member dropped out due to illness. Now, they're being replaced with a whole new pair."
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Next ISS Crew Incompatible

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  • by real_smiff ( 611054 ) on Friday February 06, 2004 @08:43AM (#8200381)
    heh, when i read the title i thought they meant incompatible with the space station. like the american crew are too fat and wouldn't fit in the hatches or something. yeah, they'd definately want to consider that..
    • The American kept insisting that he had a right to everything. The Russian once opined that Sept. 11 didn't entitle the U.S. to a Carte Blanche on international behavior, and the American socked him in the jaw.

      He's still to arrogant to ask someone what "Carte Blanche" means...

    • Obviously one was a Windows user, and the other was a Mac person. They just weren't compatibe :P
  • by kalidasa ( 577403 ) * on Friday February 06, 2004 @08:49AM (#8200425) Journal
    The dynamics of a two-person crew are harder to manage than those of the three-person crew. If the two have a bad argument, there's no third party to mediate, and you end up with each one calling Earth looking for someone to back him up. In the end, both end up feeling isolated. With a three-person crew, there's someone to mediate and serve as a safety valve - even if two of the crew members aren't speaking to each other, there's a third person there they can talk to.
    • by eraserewind ( 446891 ) on Friday February 06, 2004 @09:38AM (#8200831)
      The dynamics of a two-person crew are harder to manage than those of the three-person crew.


      I have no idea whether you are correct or not (but I'm going to comment anyway).

      Anyway, I just thought it was odd that you state a 3 person team has easier to manage dynamics than a 2 person team. In any courses on team building that I have done the instructors have always said that 3 is the absolute worst number to have because in a dispute there is a likelyhood that one person will always feel that they are being picked on or being ganged up on just because that's the way the numbers divide up when you have 3 people. If it happens more than once then the individual can feel very isolated very quickly and you can have a potentially explosive situation.

      At least with only 2 people there is no chance of one person feeling that "everyone" is out to get them, and they are more likely to somply feel that the other one is just being a jerk.

      Or so they said. ;-)
      • by babbage ( 61057 ) <cdevers@cis.uso u t h a l .edu> on Friday February 06, 2004 @09:53AM (#8201028) Homepage Journal

        As they say, "two's company, three's a crowd."

        I think I'm on your side here -- groups of three are very unstable.

        The Romans tried to have three-man leadership for a while with their triumvirates, and it worked so spectacularly well that the Republic collapsed and the Empire emerged, largely because they kept ending up with too many power plays and too much backstabbing (sometimes literally). Significantly, I'm not aware of any other country or major organization (companies, NGOs, etc) that have made a serious go at tri-partite leadership ever since.

        I'm not aware of any psychological studies on this either way, but I think that what the Romans saw with political leadership would just be a particular example of a more general human social dynamic. The "three's a crowd" expression is usually thought of in terms of intimate relationships, but anyone that has lived with a pair of roommates, like for example in college dorms, has probably either experienced or at least witnessed the same thing, with old friends ready to kill each other over petty things, etc.

        So. Anecdotes presented, assertions made. We're right. The grandparent poster is wrong. QED. :-)

        • by Red Rocket ( 473003 ) on Friday February 06, 2004 @11:09AM (#8201911)

          Significantly, I'm not aware of any other country or major organization (companies, NGOs, etc) that have made a serious go at tri-partite leadership ever since.

          What about the US?
          Legislative / Judicial / Executive
          I'm with you on the "unstable" part, though. :)
          • The US federal government has three branches, which I suppose fits with what I said, but I meant leadership by three individuals.

            Three groups isn't so bad necessarily -- tripods can be nice & stable, and from a certain point of view, the US government is just shaped like a big tripod. (OTOH, having all three legs run by one party isn't such a hot idea, but that's a different matter...)

        • I don't think there is a perfectly general rule.

          Looking at my children, three boys are usually rowdy fun on play dates but three girls are often a disaster (one gets frozen out). But there are so many exceptions we can't treat it as a tried-and-true formula. Sometimes we have three girls who play nicely together, and you may have a shy boy who gets overwhelmed by the other two.

          Judging the right number of people probably can't be done in ignorance of the kinds of personalities they have, and certainly no
        • Nice find. I think maybe you would like this [foundmagazine.com] note from found mag. [foundmagazine.com]
        • There were only two triumvirates: the unofficial first triumvirate of Caesar, Crassus, and Pompey (59-53 bce), and the official second triumvirate of Octavian, Antony, and Lepidus (43-33 bce). We're talking a grand total of 16 years out of the Roman Republic's nearly 500 year history (509 bce - 33 bce). The Roman Republic was at a nearly constant state of civil war from the death of Tiberius Gracchus in 132 bce to the establishment of the Principate in 27 bce. So no, I don't think the triumvirate was the c

      • I'm not sure where I got this quote, but for some reason, my brain keeps telling me that it is attributed to Mohammad.

        The best number of wives is 4.

        If you have one wife, she will nag you constantly.

        If you have two wives, they will fight constantly.

        If you have three wives, two will always gang up on the third.

        But with four wives, one will alway side with the unpopular one.

        Perhaps there is some truth to this when applied to any small, highly isolated group of people.

      • I just thought it was odd that you state a 3 person team has easier to manage dynamics than a 2 person team. In any courses on team building that I have done the instructors have always said that 3 is the absolute worst number to have because in a dispute there is a likelyhood that one person will always feel that they are being picked on

        Three works better two if you can hand-pick them for some degree of compatibility. Three is worse than any other number if they are thrust upon each other by circumstanc

    • makes perfect sense. maybe this is one aspect of space travel that's not rocket science ;) from what i remember (read a book called Dragonfly about Mir, heh) the russians were way ahead in their understanding of the importance and role of character and techniques for the assessment of the suitability of a person to work in space. I don't know if this is still true, despite all their funding crises, it's interesting to see the Moscow Times report this.
      • I read the same book and was horrified how the American astronauts treated their russian counterparts. Especially Michael Foyle (current "commander" of ISS) seemed to be quite a guy. I wouldn't like to be in the same tin can for 6 months with him.
    • To ask my wife for menage a trois.
  • by hcg50a ( 690062 ) on Friday February 06, 2004 @10:17AM (#8201302) Journal
    From the article:

    "It's not that the crew was unprofessional or ill, but on certain considerations it was not ready," the spokesman said.

    "The crew members should understand each other's words and opinions...they should get on like good friends."

    Well, it just shows how difficult any Mars trip is going to be, with the astronauts having to be in close quarters for 2-3 years, rather than simply 6 months.

    Also, if incompatibilities develop during the flight, they will obviously have to be dealt with, rather than just getting a replacement.
    • Well, it just shows how difficult any Mars trip is going to be, with the astronauts having to be in close quarters for 2-3 years, rather than simply 6 months.

      No, not really a problem--I volunteer for this one. I'm happy with any sort of team (under my command, of course) as long as it's a bunch of brainy gorgeous nymphomaniacs. Oh, and don't forget the correct choice of uniforms [ndirect.co.uk] for my crew.

      ...they will obviously have to be dealt with...

      That's what the airlocks are for.

  • by SLot ( 82781 ) on Friday February 06, 2004 @10:26AM (#8201431) Homepage Journal
    Associated Press, Feb 06 2004

    Moscow - The Soviet Space Program has traced the problem back to the popular American geek website slashdot.org. Apparently, the American astronaut, Leroy Chiao, was a regular reader of slashdot, and finally snapped when every time he gave a command to the cosmonaut, Valery Tokarev, replied "In Soviet Russia.."
  • Mr. T (Score:3, Funny)

    by haydenth ( 588730 ) <haydenth.msu@edu> on Friday February 06, 2004 @10:37AM (#8201559)
    "The International Space Station's replacement crew is being pulled for the B-Team." Where's the A-team? Is the B-team like the A-team but with Gary Coleman instead of Mr.T???
    • Re:Mr. T (Score:1, Funny)

      by jameskojiro ( 705701 )
      In 2004 a crack astronaut team was sent to outer space to replace a crew that didn't like one another. These men escaped from their Russian craft to the Underground of the ISS. Today, still wanted by NASA they survive in Low Earth orbit as soldiers of fourtune. If your satelite has a problem, if no other space agency can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire the B-Team.

  • A Perspective (Score:5, Interesting)

    by da' WINS pimp ( 213867 ) * <dart27&gmail,com> on Friday February 06, 2004 @12:21PM (#8202814) Journal
    Having just spent 15 days in a tin can [marssociety.org] with what were on day one six complete strangers [marssociety.org]. I think I can offer an interesting insight.

    Interpersonal dynamics are a very important part of any endeavor - especially in space where your life can literally depend on your crewmate/crewmates. In our instance we had six people. Four of which became fast friends, and one who the other four will probably never speak with again. It is a good thing in this instance that the crew coordinators of the ISS realized this was a problem and stepped in.

    In our case we had one person running around breaking stuff and four people scrambling to fix it while simultaneously trying to get our own projects off the ground. Had we actually been on Mars, someone could have taken the long walk in 100th of an atmosphere. As it turned out we just ignored him until we were done and everything worked out. It's a good thing that in space no one can hear you scream. Had it been just the two of us nothing would have gotten done and someone may have died even on Earth.

    For those actually interested in this kind of thing, I suggest getting involved with the Mars Society [marssociety.org]. We do privately funded research into what it will take to live and work on Mars. It will really open your eyes.
    • Looking over the crew list, were there any interesting things that came up from having one female and five males, or were you too busy or whatever for that to have any effect?
      • Actually it was kinda' nice! The female element kept us men more tame. No testesterone overload. This has also been noted on Antarctic expeditions.

        For the other poster that noted my mistake:
        That was four plus me, for five total.
    • In our instance we had six people. Four of which became fast friends, and one who the other four will probably never speak with again. ... In our case we had one person running around breaking stuff and four people scrambling to fix it...

      What happened to the sixth person? You say there are six people, but later on you only mention five of them.
      • What happened to the sixth person? You say there are six people, but later on you only mention five of them.

        Don't you see? Six people, trapped in a tin can... They're too ashamed to admit it, but their healthy, fat demeanor gives it away. He was obviously eaten :)

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