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Before Shuttle-Mir, most of NASA's spaceflights were relatively short-duration missions. In his Oral History, U.S. Mir astronaut Norman Thagard compares short- and long-duration missions.
Thagard says, "The nature of the flight's different. Shuttle flights are short, so you can intensively train for virtually every aspect of them, and that's not true for a three-month flight. . . . In fact, you're going to [have] things happen during the course of the flight that you never anticipated at all. It's possible in the future, with even longer flights, that there will be activities, experiments, space walks that were never foreseen at the time that you trained . . . I think that aspect is one we're going to have to get used to, with the International Space Station. It's decidedly different than the way you approach a Shuttle Program."
Profile: Norman Thagard
Norm Thagard Oral History (PDF)
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