Shuttle-Mir History/People/Team Members/Culbertson

Albert W. "Al" Holland Albert W. "Al" Holland
Psychologist

Al Holland, a NASA psychologist, supported the operations of Phase 1. His duties included analyzing the astronauts' personality traits and matching them with their suitability for long-duration flight.

After the U.S.-Mir astronauts were chosen, Holland gave them psychological training in preparation for their stays on the Russian outpost. Part of this training came from knowledge gained during Soviet long-duration flight experience in the Soyuz and Mir eras, as well as from lessons learned from polar traverses, undersea missions, and submarine missions - all closed environments such as the Mir astronauts would find on the Russian space station.

He also trained the astronauts and their families in Russian culture to prepare them for their visits overseas in a foreign country. Additionally, Holland communicated with the Mir astronauts over ham radio during their flights and monitored air-to-ground transmissions. He set up weekly communications with the U.S.-Mir residents and family members. Post-flight support included debriefing the Mir traveller for knowledge that would be passed on to future residents.

In his Oral History, he provides this overview of his duties: "Basically, what I was employed to do was to do all things psychological, which includes selection, psychological selection, the psychological aspects of training for long-duration flight, in-flight support. We had a full in-flight support program. In-flight monitoring, and post-flight debriefs for all the crew members and also their families, tracking their families throughout pre-flight, in-flight, post-flight phases, and making sure that the flyers reintegrated well, back into the office and the families."

Al Holland Oral History (PDF)

Text only version available

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