The New “Right Stuff”

Saturday, July 30th, 2011

In the early days of the space program, an astronaut was said to have the right stuff if he was brave and competent. What’s the new right stuff?

Now, you not only need to be a self-sufficient individual, you need to be able to work with astronauts from other cultures on the International Space Station. People from the same culture often take for granted a certain way of doing things, but another culture will probably have a different way of doing it.

If you’re an American astronaut, very often you’ll be working with people who don’t put as high an emphasis on individualism as the United States does. So, beyond the need for autonomy and independence, there is a greater need for interpersonal and intercultural sensitivity among astronauts.


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