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Exploring the Relationship between In-flight Training Load Data and Musculoskeletal Health Outcomes (Musculoskel_Outcomes)
Principal Investigator
Research Area:
Biomedical countermeasures
Exercise physiology
Species Studied
Scientific Name: Homo sapiens Species: Human

Crewmembers perform exercise programs during long-duration space flight to counter the detrimental effects of extended microgravity exposure. Training programs include treadmill, resistance, and cycle ergometer exercise. Exercise is performed daily by each crewmember, although volume, duration, and intensity differ across individuals. Comparison of pre- to postflight testing measures indicates that bone, muscle, and metabolic health changes vary between individuals.

This retrospective analysis was conducted using data from NASA and International partner astronauts that have flown long-duration missions onboard the International Space Station (ISS) and have had access to exercise on the Second Generation Treadmill (T2) and the Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED). General exercise summary metrics were developed to quantify exercise intensities, volumes, and durations for each subject. Ground reaction force (GRF) data was used to quantify mechanical loading experienced by each astronaut. These inflight exercise metrics were investigated relative to changes in pre- to postflight medical tests related to bone and muscle health to identify which specific variables were related with improved or degraded physiological outcomes.

This study had the following specific aims:

  1. Quantify the exercise-related mechanical loading experienced by crewmembers on the T2 and ARED during their mission on the ISS.
  2. Explore relationships between exercise loading variables, bone, and muscle health changes during the mission.
  3. Determine if specific mechanical loading variables are more critical than others in protecting physiology.
  4. Develop a methodology for operational use in monitoring accumulated training loads during crew exercise programs.

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Musculoskeletal physiology

Data Information
Data Availability
Archive is complete. Data sets are not publicly available but can be requested.
Data Sets+ Request data

Body weight
Bone mineral density
Exercise distance, total
Exercise resistance force
Exercise time, total
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Mission/Study Information
Mission Launch/Start Date Landing/End Date Duration
Ground 05/01/2009 In Progress

Human Research Program (HRP) Human Research Roadmap (HRR) Information
Crew health and performance is critical to successful human exploration beyond low Earth orbit. The Human Research Program (HRP) investigates and mitigates the highest risks to human health and performance, providing essential countermeasures and technologies for human space exploration. Risks include physiological and performance effects from hazards such as radiation, altered gravity, and hostile environments, as well as unique challenges in medical support, human factors, and behavioral health support. The HRP utilizes an Integrated Research Plan (IRP) to identify the approach and research activities planned to address these risks, which are assigned to specific Elements within the program. The Human Research Roadmap is the web-based tool for communicating the IRP content.

The Human Research Roadmap is located at:

+ Click here for information of how this experiment is contributing to the HRP's path for risk reduction.

Additional Information
Managing NASA Center
Johnson Space Center (JSC)
Responsible NASA Representative
Johnson Space Center LSDA Office
Project Manager: Jessica Keune
Institutional Support
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Proposal Date
Proposal Source
2013 HERO NNJ13ZSA002N-Crew Health (FLAGSHIP & NSBRI)