There are some important lessons learned from the crew debriefing after the Mir 5 mission which we can apply to crew operations for future lunar missions. The debriefing took place at the Johnson Space Center on October 28, 1997.
Foale felt that there were a great many lessons to be learned as a result of the joint program activities that will enhance the International Space Station.
|... cosmonauts are on contract with the Russian Space Agency to perform a certain way and accomplish a set of assigned duties. If they deviate from these instructed assignments and duties, they will ultimately affect their potential future and financial payment.|
One of his major observations has to do with the cosmonauts attitude and behavior. This is related to the way RSC Energia manages the cosmonauts financially. Under the Russian system, the cosmonauts are on contract with the Russian Space Agency to perform a certain way and accomplish a set of assigned duties. If they deviate from these instructed assignments and duties, they will ultimately affect their potential future and financial payment. Because of this, cosmonauts perform exactly as they are told and don't attempt to improve any situation or make any recommendations.
This will pose an issue for crew relations on the International Space Station, where crewmembers from the United States and other countries will be expected to operate autonomously. This lesson is equally applicable to the Artemis Project moon flights, where mission success depends on our crew's ability to think on their own and operate autonomously during flight and on the moon.
Medical Support to the Crew
In contrast to NASA medical arrangements, one Flight Surgeon per Shuttle crew, Foale felt that have a dedicated Flight Surgeon per crewmember for the entire mission was better.
Mir systems training is overdone because the Mir crew does not allow visiting astronauts to provide assistance working on the Mir systems. He felt like a slightly better-trained guest cosmonaut on a Russian-owned and Russian-controlled station.
Soyuz training was inadequate; however, on-orbit Soyuz training made up for the shortfall in ground training. Foale thought he could manage the system if he had to come back alone in Soyuz, due to the simplicity of the Soyuz systems and the availability of communication with mission control.
Mir Soyuz docking interface clamps
|He felt like a slightly better-trained guest cosmonaut on a Russian-owned and Russian-controlled station.|
The Mir-Soyuz docking interface has clamps 16 clamps linked together. They have a lanyard for rapid removal. The clamps were not removed during the Spektr EVA. If an emergency lead to the using Soyuz, the commander is responsibile for removing the clamps.
Foale said EVA training was adequate and he used everything that he got.
Mir EVA Systems
Foale said that during the Spektr EVA activities, he observed that the partial pressure of carbon dioxide ("PPCO2") was substantially increasing. It approached 8mm Hg in the Soyuz vehicle. The Mir crew was busy with IVA preparation and had forgotten to remove the cover from the LiOH assembly, so Foale had to look around to find it and remove it although he hadn't been trained in Soyuz systems.
Foale said there were workload-related hazards in the last days of the Mir 23 crew. The pressure of doing the Spektr IVA before Mir-24 crew arrived was piling up on Vasily, and it affected Sasha too. In an effort to help Vasily, Foale reported that he and Sasha would cover communications and they let Vasily sleep during the last days before the IVA was canceled. They'd only wake him up if he was specifically required. After the IVA was canceled things got better.
Foale said that the basic operation of space-suited sortie into the Spektr module was a pretty safe thing to do. The task was minimum. There was relatively little motion, and no sharp edges and little concern for floating debris. However their main concern was whether they'd be able to secure the Spektr hatch. Culbertson asked if they considered closing the Spektr's interior hatch if the outer one couldn't be closed. Foale's response was no. As a matter of fact, they had tried to close the interior hatch during the depress after the Progress collision, but couldn't - there was no way to hold it against the delta-P.
Regarding the external EVA, Foale's comments were that the only thing that made him think hard was the razor knife that Anatoly used. He couldn't think of a way to get him back in quickly if he had accidentally cut himself. In a discussion of this possible situation, Foale figured that he could possibly have gotten Anatoly, if conscious, to the O2 umbilical in the airlock in about 20 minutes.
... the environment on Mir poses hazards, but the immediacy isn't there. There are long-term hazards, but emergency problems..
Foale said the environment on Mir poses hazards, but the immediacy isn't there. There are long-term hazards, but emergency problems. When he first arrived on Mir the environmental conditions were average. However, soon after STS-84 departed, the condition began to get worse because of the accumlation of condensation in the Kvant module.
The crew discovered condensation behind panels where they went looking for leaks in the thermal control system. However, within a week the condensates dried out and things were OK.
After the Progress collision and the reduction of available power, damp areas developed in all the modules. Conditions were slowly improving after they got power levels adjusted. Conditions in late 1997 were as good as he ever saw.
Glove boxes are well designed, well set up for containing spills. The agencies' fixation on formaldehyde in the SIGB glove box was overdone; it was an unwieldy can. Apparently there is a story behind this that stems from the internal politics of NASA and the Russian Space Agency.
Foale felt that risks aboard the Mir were generally improving. Leaks in the thermal control system were the real cause for all the frustration and added work. He said the Mir crew ought to be commended for locating and repairing all the thermal control system leaks. It was nearly impossible to get to many of the leaks, but they accomplished the task.
Foale said the Spektr module should be written off. There was no hope of salvaging any additional equipment from it.
Foale said that the Mir was sufficiently supplied; however the Mir crew could always use additional spare plugs and power extension cords. At that time, NASA planned to arrage getting some connectors and plugs built in Russia (to avoid the problem with shipping precious metal -- gold in connectors -- out of Russia), and launched on the Progress in December 1997.
Foale said that the Soyuz Vehicle -- the little capsule used for launch and return of the crew -- appears to be well-built and new; looking like a Shuttle in that sense. The Mir commander periodically inspedcts the Soyuz visually and checks out its systems once a week. He makes sure the Soyuz's heaters are operating and logs the amount of propellant and pressure levels throughout the spacecraft.
Foale said the fire extinguishers are in located in their frames, attached to the wall with bungees. However, because of their gray color, they are not as visible as, for instance, the blue containers for respirators.
The hatch tools are also not very visible. During the depress they couldn't find the tool in the node for the Spektr hatch, and had to go to the core module. They eventually found it in the Kvant. All the cables and ducts strung through hatches made it difficult to find the tool. If it were more visible they could have seen it.
Someone at the briefing suggested providing the Mir crew with colored, possible fluorescent tape to make fire extinguishers and other emergency equipment, such as hatch tools, more visible.