BIO 101: Spaceflight Physiology

BIO 101: Spaceflight Physiology

BIO 101 covers the unique aspects of health maintenance of individuals exposed to the rigors of spaceflight. An overview of the physiological changes resulting from prolonged exposures to weightlessness and the establishment of countermeasures are presented in this course as with an understanding of the methods currently in use to mitigate these changes.



The course provides an overview of the physiological changes and adaptations that occur during each phase of spaceflight: ascent, early orbit, long-term flight, extra vehicular activities, and reentry. It also describes the counter measures in current use. Data from previous and current U.S. and Russian programs are discussed, in addition to current commercial spaceflight ventures. The physiological/life support requirements for spacecraft design are considered, as well as the techniques and potential impacts of crew selection, training, in-flight medical care, and contingencies. Aspects of human participation during exploration class missions/colonization are reviewed. A medical/life sciences background is not required.

Course Objectives:

Provide each student with the basis of knowledge and complement of skills necessary for awareness and application of human spaceflight physiology to the exploration of space. To further the understanding between space physiology and all the other fields of endeavor within space systems.


Fundamentals of Space Medicine, Third Edition, Clement.

Lectures and Assignments:

The course will consist of ten one-hour webinars and four assignments. Students will receive either a Pass or Fail grade.

Webinar 1: Course Overview Handout Historical Perspectives from John Paul Stapp to present day. Assignment: Describe the development of biophysics and its impact upon early astronaut medical selection criteria

Webinar 2: Environmental Control / Life Support System: subsystems Extra Vehicular Activities. Prebreathe and decompression sickness Toxic Hazards. Trace contaminants, VOCs and the SMAC list.

Webinar 3: Human Capabilities in Space, Human systems adaptation: Cardiovascular and Fluid and Electrolyte Assignment: Describe the mechanisms that cause visual impairments in astronauts and the rationale behind the countermeasures applied to mitigating this problem.

Webinar 4: Human Capabilities in Space, Human systems adaptation: Skeletal

Webinar 5: Human Capabilities in Space, Human systems adaptation: Neurovestibular Assignment: Explain the rationale for the pre-breathe procedure and how risks may be mitigated.

Webinar 6: Human Capabilities in Space, Human systems adaptation: Muscular

Webinar 7: Human Capabilities in Space, Human systems adaptation: Radiation Assignment: Describe the short and long term effects to high doses of ionizing radiation andexplain how astronauts may be protected by GCRs in deep space.

Webinar 8: Psychological Considerations, Astronaut select-in and select-out medical criteria.

Webinar 9: Operational Space Medicine Emergency Rescue Support Space Life Sciences Research.

Webinar 10: Exploration Class Missions and Human Adaptation. Pantropy. Genetic selection and genetic manipulation.

2021 Course Schedule


17apr(apr 17)6:30 pm21(apr 21)5:00 pmPoSSUM Scientist-Astronaut Class 2001 and 2002

19apr(apr 19)8:00 am23(apr 23)5:00 pm2020 PoSSUM Academy - Red Sprite Group

24apr(apr 24)6:30 pm28(apr 28)5:00 pmPoSSUM Scientist-Astronaut Class 2003 and 2101

26apr(apr 26)8:00 am30(apr 30)5:00 pm2020 PoSSUM Academy - Blue Jet Group


01may8:00 am05(may 5)5:00 pmOPS 102 Spacecraft Egress and Rescue Operations On-SiteOn-site compliment to OPS 102 course providing aircraft egress and sea survial training to complement post-landing human space flight system engineering instruction

06may(may 6)8:00 am09(may 9)5:00 pmFeaturedBIO 104: Advanced Egress - Spacesuit Landing and Post-Landing Testing

10may(may 10)8:00 am12(may 12)5:00 pmOPS 104 On-Site Mission Simulation TrainingOn-Site compliment to OPS 104 Orbital Mechanics and Mission Simulation using the IIAS Orion simulator to provide high-fidelity simulation of ISS rendezvous and docking missions.

13may(may 13)8:00 am16(may 16)5:00 pmEVA 105 Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory EVA Operations CampaignOn-Site compliment to EVA 105 Fundamentals of Underwater EVA Operations using the IIAS Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory. This NAUI-certified prepares on to evaluate actual EVA space suits in analog underwater conditions.

17may(may 17)8:00 am21(may 21)5:00 pmFeaturedBIO 103 Microgravity Research CampaignMicrogravity Research Campaign supporting the IIAS BIO 103 Program

25may(may 25)8:00 am28(may 28)5:00 pmEVA 102 Operational Space Medicine Field CampaignField component to cover wilderness medicine in extreme environments, culminating with a 4-day on-site lab portion devoted to triage, scenarios and skills pertaining to wilderness medicine

29may01junEVA 103 Planetary Field Geology Field CampaignEVA 103 course covers the requirements and design considerations for EVA systems and tools for conducting planetary field geology


06jun(jun 6)8:00 am12(jun 12)5:00 pmFTE 102 Fixed-Wing Performance Flight Test CampaignOn-Site compliment to FTE 102 Fixed-Wing Performance Flight Testing using Turbo Mooney aircraft.

13jun(jun 13)8:00 am19(jun 19)5:00 pmFTE 103 Fixed-Wing Stability and Control Flight Test CampaignOn-Site compliment to the FTE 102 Fixed-Wing Stability and Control Flight Test Course using Turbo Mooney, Piper Twin, and Pitts S2B aircraft.


10julAll Day20FeaturedAER 103 Noctilucent Cloud Imagery Field Research CampaignField campaign as part of AER 103, Airborne Noctilucent Cloud Imagery course to study noctilucent cloud formations through coordinated ground, airborne, and balloon observations.


01nov8:00 am05(nov 5)5:00 pmFeaturedEVA 104 Gravity-Offset EVA Space Suit Evaluation CampaignGravity-offset research campaign to evaluate the Final Frontier Design EVA space suit by applying the tools and techniques developed through EVA 102 and EVA 103 courses

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