Air & Space

published : 2023-10-27

International Space Station astronauts redefine 'The Right Stuff' for the modern era

'Jack of all trades': Astronauts share the necessary qualities to get selected for space missions

An image of NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli inside the International Space Station, showcasing her interpersonal skills as she collaborates with her fellow astronauts. (Taken with Canon EOS R)

What does it take to be selected for space missions?

Two astronauts aboard the International Space Station reveal the key crucial characteristics that make up 'the right stuff'.

Rocketeers need 'the right stuff' to be chosen for space flight, and as missions have become longer and vehicles fill with larger crews, communication and collaboration are crucial characteristics for those heading to the cosmos, two astronauts told Fox News Digital.

NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli, one of two Americans aboard the International Space Station (ISS), said 'Interpersonal skills are really what defines the right stuff'.

'You have to be a bit of a jack of all trades nowadays here on station,' Moghbeli added.

The International Space Station is 356 feet end-to-end and has continuously housed astronauts since November 2000, according to NASA.

A stunning view of the International Space Station floating above the Earth, highlighting the long-duration missions and collaboration between space agencies. (Taken with Nikon D850)

The ISS is currently home to seven astronauts: two from the U.S., three from Russia, one from Denmark, and another from Japan.

Missions aboard the ISS typically span from six months to a year.

European Space Agency astronaut Andreas Mogensen stated that 'Today, we see much longer duration missions onboard the space station, which means that interpersonal skills play a much bigger factor in the selection of astronauts'.

'Definitely the right stuff has changed.', Mogensen added.

The ISS is a result of the collaboration between five space agencies: NASA (United States), Roscosmos (Russia), JAXA (Japan), ESA (Europe), and CSA (Canada).

The station functions primarily as a space laboratory for a wide range of scientific research that would not be possible on Earth.

A close-up shot of astronauts conducting an experiment on the International Space Station, emphasizing the scientific research and innovation happening in microgravity. (Taken with Sony A7 III)

Advanced water filtration system research, fundamental studies on cancer, and experiments on growing food in microgravity have all been tested aboard the ISS, according to NASA.

Beyond space-based research, the collaborations between astronauts go even further.

Astronauts are responsible for taking care of each other's well-being and repairing anything that breaks aboard the ISS.

There have been 267 highly coordinated spacewalk missions since 1998, where ISS astronauts work on the exterior of the vessel.

'We have to be able to work together successfully for six months, sometimes up to a year at a time onboard the International Space Station,' Mogensen emphasized.

'There's a lot more focus on teamwork, on communication skills.'