In 2001 I found a job shortly after construction of the International Space Station. Our team — Operations Planning — were responsible for learning about the work the crew would perform while leaving in space for months at a time. We had weeks of academy training on the space shuttle and the space station. We learned about the sleep requirements, the equipment requirements, construction process, the technical details of the U.S. and Russian spacesuits, and experiments. We had office work to develop the plans.
Our other responsibility was to work in the Mission Control Center — a large block of a building. It takes a lot of people to work together to monitor the status of the space station and provide support to the crew. My job was to organize and uplink documents from my computer workstation to the International Space Station astronauts and cosmonauts. We wore headsets to listen to several conversations simultaneously between different groups in different rooms throughout the building. My schedule could be 9 hours for 7 days followed by time back in the office. There was a lot of information to sort through coming through our ears and on our computer screens. We also had shared data with co-workers working in the same room who had other tasks.
It took team work and communication. There were a lot of people required in the office and in the Mission Control Center to get the work done. We were also working with people in the Russian Control Center as well as translators in our own building. Many of us studied Russian to help us understand the documents we had to uplink. We worked together to make sure the translation made sense because languages can be very tricky and sometimes funny.