Skip navigation
C. When Three is Not a Crowd . . .

Narrator: This is Science Today. A new three-member crew is now aboard the International Space Station for a four-month stay. This crew consists of two American astronauts and one Russian cosmonaut - a reversal of the last crew of two Russians and one American. Researcher Nicholas Kanas of the University of California, San Francisco is conducting studies for NASA on the psychosocial environment for space flight crews. And one of his recommendations is sending more than three crewmembers into space together.

Kanas: I think three is not a good number for a crew, especially if one of those three is an outsider of some kind. It can work because individuals can make anything work, but it puts a certain added stress, I think, on the person who is the outsider - whether it's a different cultural group, a different gender, a person who has a different background.

Narrator: But Kanas doesn't expect this practice to change any time soon, as the current escape vessels can only hold up to three people.

Kanas: In time they'll be additional escape vessels up there and so the crews, the size of them will expand.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.