First UK astronaut in 20 years
Tuesday 15th December 2015 at 11.03 GMT Tim Peake, aboard the Russian Soyuz rocket, was blasted into space making him the first UK astronaut in over 20 years and the first to be sponsored by the UK government. After 6 and a half hours, at 17.33 GMT, their Capsule successfully docked with the ISS (International Space Station) after slight complications forcing Russian Commander Yuri Malenchenko to take control and manually dock the shuttle.
Although Tim boarding the ISS marks a historic day for Britain, it also marks the end of his 6 years of training and preparation along with the beginning of his 6 month stretch in space. There are a total of 6 crew members currently on board the ISS, making them a small yet crucially important team for the European Space Agency, as they shall be conducting the crucial fieldwork into micro-gravity research.
Being such a small group of people on the station, teamwork and communication is a vital part of maintaining the success and safety of any missions or research conducted by the team. Living in such close proximity with the same group of people over the stretch of time they stay up their can take its toll, making it essential that everyone on board bonds with each other and can maintain a healthy work environment.
Training to be a Team player
Part of the 6 years training that these astronauts are put through is to psychologically evaluate that they can work in these isolated and stressful conditions with team mates. This is carried out through a number of different training methods such as training aboard underwater research facilities over long periods of time.
Performing in a team, communication is key
This Monday will be Tim’s first real ‘test’ aboard the ISS as he’ll be aiding fellow crew members Tim Kopra and Scott Kelly in a spacewalk mission so they can fix a broken component on the outside of the station. Tim Peake will have to aid them both in getting suited up and out of the air lock while maintaining communication with Mission Control, a stressful job especially as the safety of the other crew members relies heavily him performing his role and keeping strong communication between not only himself and the other two astronauts involved in the mission but also with Mission Control.
Critical team factors that ensure success
This mission will highlight the key team working factors that ensure the success of any task carried out by the group; communication, trust, working under pressure and maintaining that each person fulfils their job role. Without all of these critical factors you not only risk the success of the mission but could also potentially endanger the lives of the crew members involved, thus illustrating the importance of strong and effective teamwork.