The U.S. Mir astronauts trained hard for their missions, and then worked hard once they were on Mir. In his Oral History, John Blaha describes the work load.
Blaha says, "During my flight, we had two Russians [Valery Korzun and Alexander Kaleri] and myself. All three of us were busy from eight in the morning until ten in the evening, and they were even busy up until midnight . . .
". . . If I had a free moment, I was working to improve the hand-over process, amongst many other things I could go into but I won't. Or I was writing notes to Randy Brinkley's team on the Phase Two and telling them some things I thought they ought to know. I spent about thirty minutes in my free time writing emails to five people and reading the emails I was getting from those five people. So I didn't feel like I had a lot of free time. All three of us worked seven days a week, including Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day."
Life on Mir
Profile: John Blaha
John Blaha Oral History (PDF)
Mir Onboard Operations
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