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Return to Flying Duties Following Centrifuge or Vibration ExposuresIntroduction: In an effort to determine the human performance limits for vibration in spacecraft being developed by NASA, astronauts were evaluated during a simulated launch profile in a centrifuge/vibration environment and separate vibration-only simulation. Current USAF and Army standards for return to flight following centrifuge exposures require 12-24 hours to pass before a crewmember may return to flying duties. There are no standards on vibration exposures and return to flying duties. Based on direct observation and provocative neurological testing of the astronauts, a new standard for return to flying duties following centrifuge and/or vibration exposures was established. Methods: 13 astronaut participants were exposed to simulated launch profiles in a + 3.5 Gx bias centrifuge/vibration environment and separately on a vibration table at the NASA-Ames Research Center. Each subject had complete neurological evaluations pre- and post-exposure for the centrifuge/vibration runs with the NASA neurological function rating scale (NFRS). Subjects who participated in the vibration-only exposures had video oculography performed with provocative maneuvers in addition to the NFRS. NFRS evaluations occurred immediately following each exposure and at 1 hour post-run. Astronauts who remained symptomatic at 1 hour had repeat NFRS performed at 1 hour intervals until the crewmember was asymptomatic. Results: Astronauts in the centrifuge/vibration study averaged a 3-5 point increase in NFRS scores immediately following exposure but returned to baseline 3 hours post-run. Subjects exposed to the vibration-only simulation had a 1-3 point increase following exposure and returned to baseline within 1-2 hours. Pre- and post- vibration exposure video oculography did not reveal any persistent ocular findings with provocative testing 1 hour post-exposure. Discussion: Based on direct observations and objective measurement of neurological function in astronauts following simulated launch profiles, asymptomatic individuals are allowed to return to flying duties within 3 hours following centrifuge/vibration and 2 hours after vibration-only exposures.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Johnson Space Center
Document Type
Scheuring, Richard A.
(NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Clarke, Jonathan
(National Space Biomedical Research Inst. Houston, TX, United States)
Jones, Jeffrey A.
(National Space Biomedical Research Inst. Houston, TX, United States)
Date Acquired
September 8, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2009
Subject Category
Aerospace Medicine
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
Meeting: 81st Annual Aerospace Medical Association Meeting
Location: Phoenix,AZ
Country: United States
Start Date: May 9, 2010
End Date: May 13, 2010
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