Radio-based communication between crew members in space and mission control centers on the ground has the operational purpose of supporting the safe and effective execution of missions in space. Space-to-ground communication also, however, constitutes one of the relatively few interpersonal relationships astronauts have during missions and in addition to its operational purpose, this communication can support astronauts’ wellbeing. The purpose of this paper is to identify psychosocially supportive aspects of operational space-to-ground communication between astronauts in space and spacecraft communicators on the ground. Through qualitative analysis of authentic mission communication, this paper identifies two supportive aspects and develops a terminology for describing these. Operational kindness describes operational messages that are considerate, show understanding of others, and include implicitly expressed enjoyment of associating with others. Operational wit describes operational messages in which not only content and clarity, but also the style with which a message is conveyed is given attention, by including a subtle wit or charm. Both are illustrated with excerpts from data and are discussed in relation to existing research.
Frederiksen, Dennis J.
"Connecting with the Outside World: Psychosocially Supportive Aspects of Operational Communication Between Isolated Crews in Space and Mission Control on the Ground,"
Journal of Human Performance in Extreme Environments: Vol. 18
Available at: https://docs.lib.purdue.edu/jhpee/vol18/iss1/9