A US-Russian Collaboration: The Relationship Composition, Interpersonal Relations, and Team Effectiveness in Space Crews


Dr. Alla Vinokhodova, Institute of Biomedical Problems, Russian Academy of Sciences

Dr. Vadim Gushin, Institute of Biomedical Problems, Russian Academy of Sciences

Dr. Noshir Contractor, SONIC lab, Northwestern University

Dr. Leslie DeChurch, ATLAS lab, Northwestern University


How crew composition and interpersonal relations affect crew functioning and effectiveness has been and continues to be of interest to both NASA and the Institute of Biomedical Problems (IBMP), whose research informs operations for the Russian Federal Space Agency. Over time, research from these agencies has evolved with different emphases.


NASA-sponsored team composition research heavily relies on trait and network theories. It seeks to identify traits and combinations of traits that can be used to compose, train, and manage highly effective crews. IBMP-sponsored research mostly has moved away from trait-based approaches toward an idiographic (in-depth, heavily descriptive) approach to researching crew interpersonal relations. This project is collaborative research between a NASA-sponsored researchers and an IBMP-sponsored researchers which forwards a cutting-edge integrative model that details how team member attributes, combinations thereof, and interpersonal perceptions affects the emergence of relational states in isolated and confined environments (ICE).

Our 3-year US-Russian collaborative effort leverages previous data collected in ICE; collects new data using analog-definition research in the 2017 and 2018 HERA campaigns; and uses a novel data analysis approach. This project is an important and ground-breaking research partnership that cooperatively explores the effective composition and management of space crews.

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