Psychological factors are critical in long-duration spaceflight.
General Yuri Glaskov, a first deputy at the Gagarin Training Center, talks in his Oral History about how the Russian psychological training and experience. He says, "We have a special program of psychological training. . . . We put our crew members into ... an isolation chamber. I had to myself be in this chamber for fourteen days. It is called ... "Alone in public." Everybody is watching you, but you can't see anybody. There are certain psychological nuances there, because you fight yourself."
Glaskov also personally experienced a thirty-five day test of the Mir orbital station. He says, "At that time there were two of us, but the hatches were closed and we were absolutely alone for thirty-five days. This experience created different problems. Here we had to tolerate each other, forgive each other, and supplement each other's faults or experiences... One person doesn't like certain traits of another, and so you have to learn to adapt to each other.
"When the crew is three people or more," according to Glaskov, "that becomes even more difficult. Every person has his own personality. We even noticed that a certain thing happens when two people unite against the third one... [Furthermore,] we have to bear in mind [that] we're people of the same country ... the same cultural background ... [the] former Soviet Union..."
With Shuttle-Mir, Glaskov says, "This changes. This combination changes. . . . [Now,] you have an international element coming into play, and that makes things even more difficult."
Life on Mir
Profile: Yuri Glaskov
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