History and Evolution of Behavioral Health Support

With the close of the Apollo moon missions, NASA turned to low Earth orbit and space stations, giving rise to the era of the Shuttle. Missions on the new' Space Transportation System were not significantly longer than Apollo moon missions. The level of support offered to shuttle astronauts largely remained the same as that offered to earlier astronauts. It was not until the advent of NASA’s participation in space stations that the agency began to realize that longer missions required a different level of support.

Designed for Longer-Duration Missions

Space stations have no major propulsion system, no landing system, are typically flown from mission control on the ground, and rely on other space vehicles for transport to and from the station. The earliest space stations were monolithic, constructed and launched in one piece, and later manned by crew' (Teitel, 2016). Russia (then the USSR) launched the first of these monolithic stations, Salyut 1, in April of 1971 followed by the United States 2 years later w'ith Skylab. Over its life, Skylab hosted three crews with missions of 28, 56, and 84 days, respectively (NASA, 2017). The Salyut space stations, over their collective 20 years of life, were home to 38 Russian crew's, 13 of w'hich were considered long-duration. In February 1986, the USSR launched the first modular space station, Mir. Until its deactivation in early 2001, Mir hosted 39 mission crews, 28 of which were long-duration, and was home to astronauts from 12 other countries (NASA, 2007). Amid increasing issues with the aging Mir space station, the International Space Station was built. The first expedition crew, consisting of two Russians and one American, arrived on November 2, 2000 and marked the beginning of the longest consistent human presence in space. Over the past 48 years of space station operations dating to Salyut 1 in 1971, and approximately 100 long-duration missions, NASA and its international partner space agencies have gained considerable experience regarding psychosocial adaptation to space.

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