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Autonomous Medical Care for Exploration Class Space MissionsThe US-based health care system of the International Space Station (ISS) contains several subsystems, the Health Maintenance System, Environmental Health System and the Countermeasure System. These systems are designed to provide primary, secondary and tertiary medical prevention strategies. The medical system deployed in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) for the ISS is designed to enable a "stabilize and transport" concept of operations. In this paradigm, an ill or injured crewmember would be rapidly evacuated to a definitive medical care facility (DMCF) on Earth, rather than being treated for a protracted period on orbit. The medical requirements of the short (7 day) and long duration (up to 6 months) exploration class missions to the Moon are similar to LEO class missions with the additional 4 to 5 days needed to transport an ill or injured crewmember to a DCMF on Earth. Mars exploration class missions are quite different in that they will significantly delay or prevent the return of an ill or injured crewmember to a DMCF. In addition the limited mass, power and volume afforded to medical care will prevent the mission designers from manifesting the entire capability of terrestrial care. NASA has identified five Levels of Care as part of its approach to medical support of future missions including the Constellation program. In order to implement an effective medical risk mitigation strategy for exploration class missions, modifications to the current suite of space medical systems may be needed, including new Crew Medical Officer training methods, treatment guidelines, diagnostic and therapeutic resources, and improved medical informatics.
Document ID
Document Type
Preprint (Draft being sent to journal)
Hamilton, Douglas
(Wyle Life Sciences, Inc. Houston, TX, United States)
Smart, Kieran
(Wyle Life Sciences, Inc. Houston, TX, United States)
Melton, Shannon
(Wyle Life Sciences, Inc. Houston, TX, United States)
Polk, James D.
(NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Johnson-Throop, Kathy
(NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Date Acquired
August 23, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2007
Subject Category
Aerospace Medicine
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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