Goals / Objectives:
In order to monitor the health of astronauts and perform human physiology experiments in space it is necessary to collect and analyse samples of blood, urine and saliva of the crew. Once returned to the ground, these samples have degraded, and in any case, are no longer useful for health monitoring. The objective of this technology is to facilitate both the collection of samples and timely analysis in-flight.
Human Physiology studies or experiments onboard the International Space Station are expected to involve regular collections of blood, urine, and possibly saliva from crew members. If no blood analyzer is on board, the blood samples are stored in controlled conditions in freezers and returned to ground laboratories for analysis after the mission increment is over.Resulting cryo-preservation of collected samples over long periods of time (up to 6-month) can induce biochemical degradation and lead to measurement errors, when analyzed post-flight. Moreover, the lack of real-time results does not allow for extended medical follow-up and prevents real time optimization of research protocols. An in-flight automated bio-chemical analyzer would avoid such drawbacks, improve monitoring of crew health and possibly - in a later future - enhance space research in cell and tissue culture and biotechnology in general.Purpose of the current I-BA activity is to explore concepts for an automated, on-board system for bio- and immuno- chemical analysis, using very small sample and reagent volumes, less than 1 ml for 12 parameters, working with off-the-shelf test kits used with no- or minor modifications.Main contractor: EADS, Friedrichshafen