Which would you rather be, a space shuttle astronaut or a technician on board the International Space Station?
December 7, 2000 1:23 PM   Subscribe

I take it they've stopped being polite and started being real.
posted by harmful at 1:29 PM on December 7, 2000

Russians are worse than drunken sailors.
posted by tiaka at 2:02 PM on December 7, 2000

We'll see how things go on the shuttle after they start sharing the same atmosphere...
posted by daver at 2:36 PM on December 7, 2000

I don't know why we have to keep propping up the Russian space program. It's crap. Their astronauts are crap. Geez, talk about your Cold War Guilt...
posted by owillis at 3:05 PM on December 7, 2000

Huh? Based on that article you feel that you can condemn the Russians? This is an International Space Station, it might help if everyone got over their Cold War (read: bigotted, racist) attitudes.
posted by lagado at 4:10 PM on December 7, 2000

Didn't the russians do like 60% of all the work? I remember there was something on this. I was actually born in Kazakhstan, so, I can brag.
posted by tiaka at 5:14 PM on December 7, 2000

Sounds like little has changed in the last decade. Shuttle-Mir was supposed to iron out these differences, but it sounds like the Russian space program is sticking to old habits. (This is exactly the way it was in Dragonfly.)

In truth they're just as smart and capable, they just have completely different attitudes about how to approach problems and work in teams. Anyway, it's not that we're doing this out of charity -- ISS is explicitly more of a foreign-relations program than a science program. The only reason it happened is that the White House figured it was a useful way to buy off the Russians from exporting their nuke scientists.

Anyway, it's not fair to point out the faults in the Russian-built air system while overlooking the US-built solar panels that failed to deploy smoothly (and may yet cause a major hang-up in a year or so when they have to MOVE this solar array to another mounting point).

Back to the issues. The Americans have long paid attention to so-called cockpit resource issues, managing what the astronauts can do, even ordering them to rest. Every task is charted out down to the minute, and performed a dozen times in training. The Russians, on the other hand, don't train on specific tasks, don't plan out as carefully, and frequently give the cosmonauts too much to do. The Russians also have an incentive system based on bonuses paid for performing difficult tasks, especially on time. The Americans are paid the same either way, and are looking for more intangible career benefits.
posted by dhartung at 7:18 PM on December 7, 2000

Now it makes sense why we (United States) sent a Navy Seal to command the first group ... a tough son-of-a-bitch would be the only type to fit in with the Russians.
posted by Brilliantcrank at 10:18 PM on December 7, 2000

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