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Medical Operational Challenges in the Expedition 16 Landing and RecoveryOn April 19, 2008 the crew of Expedition 16 left the International Space Station and returned to earth via their Soyuz TMA-11 capsule after 192 days on orbit. Their capsule experienced the second consecutive and third ballistic reentry in the last 10 TMA recoveries and landed approximately 260 miles (420 km) from the prime landing site. Issues: The purpose of this presentation will be to describe, not only the typical medical operational challenges faced by Flight Surgeons recovering a long duration crew from space, but also address the unique challenges that existed with the Expedition 16 landing and crew recovery. Nominal Soyuz recovery challenges include remote recovery sites with crew exposures to sleep shifting and fatigue, dehydration, hypothermia and hyperthermia, and rotational, sustained, and impact g-forces. These environmental factors coupled with the patho-physiologic neuro-vestibular and orthostatic intolerance changes that occur secondary to the crews reintroduction into the earth s gravity field will be detailed. Additional challenges that were unique to this expedition included a ballistic reentry with higher g-loads, the presence of fire outside of the capsule on landing, a contingency medical event of a ground support personnel, and loss of communications with the crew just prior to landing and during recovery operations. Conclusions: In spite of these unique challenges the Russian Search and Rescue Forces and Medical Support personnel along with U.S. Medical Support performed well together. Possible improvements in training and coordination will be discussed.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Moynihan, S.
(NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Johnston, S. L.
(NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Ilcus, L. S.
(Department of the Air Force United States)
Shevchenko, V.
(Roscosmos, Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center Star City, Russia)
Date Acquired
August 24, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2009
Subject Category
Aerospace Medicine
Meeting Information
Meeting: 80th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Aerospace Medical Association
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Country: United States
Start Date: May 3, 2009
End Date: May 7, 2009
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