have been adopted by such ISS partners as Russia, Germany, France, and Japan (Santy, 1994; Holland, 2000).
As the NASA space program has grown and prospered during the past half century, well over 1,000 candidates for astronaut and associated assignments have been interviewed and tested, with some 350 or more of the selectees having participated in space missions. The current methodology includes a detailed psychiatric interview that targets particular symptomatic conditions as defined by diagnostic criteria presented in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 4th edition (DSM-IV) (Flynn and Holland, 2000). In addition, a test battery is administered that includes questionnaires with open-ended and multiple-choice questions, focused personality scales, and a computerized cognitive functions evaluation (Holland, 1997).
Apparently, none of the data from these intensive and extensive screening procedures are used in selection determinations except to “select out” candidates. Responsibility for “select-in” decisions resides exclusively with the Astronaut Selection Board. The extent to which the initial interview and test data are considered in the actual astronaut selection remains unclear. There is also little indication that the extensive screening interview and test data have been systematically analyzed for their procedural validities and reliabilities or even collated to examine interrelationships between measures.
Regardless of its shortcomings, the process has made important contributions to the successful accomplishment of mission objectives, insofar as participants on space missions have remained free of serious behavioral disorders, at least for relatively short-term space missions of up to a year or more. Under the present circumstances, however, there is no way of determining whether the procedures currently in place will be adequate or even useful for the screening and selection of candidates for long-duration space missions beyond Earth orbit
The existing knowledge base is enhanced to some extent by simulation studies that have been undertaken in polar regions, which serve as analog environments for long-duration space missions. In a study with some 600 American men spending an austral winter in Antarctica, for example, pretest and intake interview information was found to be useful in accounting, at least in part, for the variance in individual performance measures (Palinkas