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Science & Exploration

N° 24–1994: The HUBES experiment : a ground-based simulation of a 135-day manned spaceflight

22 August 1994

In the framework of the co-operation between the European Space Agency and Russia, a 135-day flight by a European astronaut on board the Russian orbital Mir complex is scheduled for 1995. This mission, EUROMIR 95, will follow EUROMIR 94, a shorter (30-day) mission scheduled to start on 3 October 1994.

In order to acquire knowledge needed for the EUROMIR 95 mission, the Institute for Biomedical Problems (IBMP) in Moscow, Russia, has been contracted by ESA to conduct a 135-day ground-based simulation (from 1 September 1994 to 14 January 1995) to study Human Behaviour in Extended Spaceflights (HUBES). On behalf of ESA, the Norwegian Underwater Technology Centre (NUTEC) of Bergen, Norway, is responsible for project management. The subjects of the experiment will be : three Russian research volunteers.

The unique test-bench facilities, the varied equipment and the expertise accumulated by IBMP in the preparation of programme for biomedical investigation in space by developing appropriate methodologies and relevant equipment have helped to create the conditions that will enable HUBES to simulate real space missions on board the Mir station to the closest possible degree (*).

The objectives of the HUBES simulation are:

  • - To compare and validate psychological methods and tools for use in crew selection, training, monitoring and in-orbit support flight;
  • - To select those most appropriate for possible application during a real long-duration spaceflight (e.g. EUROMIR 95);
  • - To improve knowledge about human requirements on extended space missions.

On the basis of an international competition, 31 studies were selected for the HUBES experiment, proposed by research groups from the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States of America in the areas of : individual performance, group behaviour, chronobiology, physiology, neuro-immunology, nutrition and flight operations.

A press conference to mark the start of the HUBES experiment will take place on 1 September 1994 at 11:00 hrs at IBMP, 76-a Khoroshevskoye Shosse, Moscow, Russia.

The research volunteers will enter the chamber at 12:00 hrs. If you wish to attend the press conference and witness the event, please contact IBMP directly:
Prof. Dr. V. Gushin
Tel.: +7 095 195 2366, 195 1500 or 195 6335
Fax.: +7 095 195 2253

(*) Note:
When preparing for the HUBES experiment, the results of the previous experimental campaigns conducted by the ESA Long- Term Programme Office of the Directorate of Space Station and Microgravity were taken into account. These campaigns, ISEMSI-90 (Bergen, Norway, 6 men, duration: 28 days) and EXEMSI-92 (Cologne, Germany, 3 men and 1 woman, duration: 60 days), were performed in shore-based deep diving complexes (hyperbaric chambers). During these two experiments, the psychology of group dynamics and individual performance under isolation and confinement were studied amongst many other topics.