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  Who's The Boss In Outer Space?

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Author Topic:   Who's The Boss In Outer Space?
Duke Of URL
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Posts: 1301
From: Syracuse, NY, USA
Registered: Jan 2005

posted 05-01-2005 11:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Duke Of URL   Click Here to Email Duke Of URL     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Who's the boss in Outer Space?

Can a Mission Specialist be Commander or outrank the Pilot?

What happens on the ISS? Is the shuttle commander Big Babalu? What happens if a Russian cosmonaut or an etcetera-naut from another country tells he or she to pound micrometeorites?

Does NASA have a conflict-resolution protocol and have fists ever flown as well as cargo?

DavidH
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From: Huntsville, AL, USA
Registered: Jun 2003

posted 05-04-2005 01:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DavidH   Click Here to Email DavidH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Shuttle commanders are always pilots, since their duties include flying the Shuttle (The "pilot" might more accurately be considered co-pilot).

On the ISS, though, things are different; Mike Foale last year became NASA's first non-pilot mission Commander as head of the Expedition 8 increment on the Station.

When the Shuttle is docked, presumably the Shuttle Commander and the Station Commander maintain authority over their respective crews.

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"America's challenge of today has forged man's destiny of tomorrow." - Commander Eugene Cernan, Apollo 17 Mission, 11 December 1972

Duke Of URL
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posted 05-04-2005 04:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Duke Of URL   Click Here to Email Duke Of URL     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Suppose there's a disagreement. Who rules? I can't imagine a fist fight in zero-G - they're awkward enough here on Earth especially during hockey games - but there might be a beef where the Shuttle Dude and ISS Dude (or Dudette as the case may be) are in disagreement.

Also, suppose an ESA astronaut decides to tell the Shuttle commander to pound micrometeroites? Can he be canned from the Shuttle flight if he's due to come back?

Would the Commander's decision be final even if the astronaut's health might suffer from a continued zero-G stay?

sts205cdr
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Posts: 534
From: Sacramento, CA
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posted 05-04-2005 04:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for sts205cdr   Click Here to Email sts205cdr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
When the Shuttle is docked to the ISS, I believe each CDR maintains his or her authority over their vehicle. I can't imagine any other arrangement working.

Shuttle pilot-astronauts have served as mission specialists in the past, so they don't have to serve as pilots.

BTW, Shep was the first non-pilot CDR of an ISS crew.

--John

FFrench
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From: San Diego
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posted 05-04-2005 05:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Duke Of URL:
Suppose there's a disagreement. Who rules? I can't imagine a fist fight in zero-G - they're awkward enough here on Earth especially during hockey games

Not exactly the same scenario, but disagreements have happened in space, and the best-known ones are the ones that took place on long-duration Soviet missions. A natural awkwardness was created when a rookie cosmonaut would command a more experienced spacefarer. Zimmerman, Oberg and Lebedev's book, amongst others, will give you the details you are looking for, if you are interested.

There have, of course, been disagreements on Shuttle missions, but because of the effect airing such dirty laundry has on astronaut careers, they tend to be kept very, very quiet. Talk to the right people, in confidence, and you'll hear some stories!

FF

Astro Bill
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posted 05-04-2005 05:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Astro Bill   Click Here to Email Astro Bill     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
When John Glenn flew on STS-95 there must have been a few awkward moments with the shuttle commander.

Duke Of URL
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From: Syracuse, NY, USA
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posted 05-04-2005 06:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Duke Of URL   Click Here to Email Duke Of URL     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Astro Bill:
When John Glenn flew on STS-95 there must have been a few awkward moments with the shuttle commander.

Sen. Glenn never struck me as the sort to presume on a mission commander. On the other hand, I've heard he wasn't all that squeaky clean; someone said he could swear and chew people out as well as the next Marine officer. He's still a man you'd want to have your back, though. Just like the rest of 'em.

I thought Wally Schirra's comment about needing three years to train because he'd only fly as Commander was funny. He'd also fly a perfect mission as CDR too.

[This message has been edited by Duke Of URL (edited May 04, 2005).]

FFrench
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From: San Diego
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posted 05-04-2005 06:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Astro Bill:
When John Glenn flew on STS-95 there must have been a few awkward moments with the shuttle commander.

Not at all - Glenn went out of his way during all of the pre-mission publicity to try and take the spotlight off him and put it onto the other crewmembers and the objectives of the mission. It was not false modesty, either - that's the kind of person he is.

FF

OV-105
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From: Ridgecrest, CA USA
Registered: Sep 2000

posted 05-04-2005 07:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for OV-105   Click Here to Email OV-105     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I wonder what is like for some of the Astronauts who have been shuttle CDR's when they fly the mid deck up and down for the ISS flights or like John Blaha for his Mir flight. The I know how to fly this and now I am just a passenger.

Carrie
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From: Syracuse, New York, USA
Registered: May 2003

posted 05-04-2005 08:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Carrie   Click Here to Email Carrie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by FFrench:
There have, of course, been disagreements on Shuttle missions, but because of the effect airing such dirty laundry has on astronaut careers, they tend to be kept very, very quiet. Talk to the right people, in confidence, and you'll hear some stories!

Marsha Ivins, while not naming names, told a very funny one when I met her in January. She went up with a Shuttle crew who kept the temperature too cold for her liking, so she told them,

"if you feel something wet brush against you in the night, it's just my nose - I'm snuggling closer to try and get warm".

She noticed the temperature got warmer for the rest of the flight

So, subtle threats can be effective in bringing crewmates around, but it takes a combination of telling it like it is and a dry sense of humor, like she has!

divemaster
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From: ridgefield, ct
Registered: May 2002

posted 05-04-2005 08:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for divemaster   Click Here to Email divemaster     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Poor analogy coming up:

I hold instructor status when it comes to Scuba diving. I actually look forward to the times when I'm NOT the instructor and someone else is in charge. As a matter of fact, if I'm "joy diving", I leave my instructor card at home. [Larry McGlynn - feel free to chime in here]. When I'm "just another diver" on the boat, I follow all of the instructions and protocols as put forward by the divemaster of the boat. It's his/her boat and his/her neck if anything happens. I have no ego if an instructor asks me to run through any set of basic skills. I also know that if something "major" should happen, I'm in a position to help.

I'd assume that it's something similar with pilots and CDR's. The non-CDR has their own set of responsibilities and duties and will respect the CDR. In an emergency, they'll step in to help with their experience.

At the same time, I'm reminded of what Wally Schirra said about Apollo 7. It's his ship and his responsibility. A ground controller questioning his decision making isn't going to get killed by falling out of his chair.

These astronauts are so highly skilled and trained that I doubt anyone would questions the CDR's authority unless he/she is obviously impaired and putting the lives of the crew(s) in danger.

-tracy

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