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Physiological Factors Contributing to Postflight Changes in Functional Performance (Functional Task Test) (FTT)
Principal Investigator
Research Area:
Biomedical countermeasures
Cardiovascular physiology
Muscle physiology
Species Studied
Scientific Name: Homo sapiens Species: Human

Exposure to the microgravity conditions of space flight causes astronauts to experience alterations in multiple physiological systems including sensorimotor disturbances, cardiovascular deconditioning, and loss of muscle mass and strength. Some or all of these changes might affect the ability of crewmembers to perform critical mission tasks immediately after landing on a planetary surface. The goals of the Functional Task Test (FTT) study were to determine the effects of space flight on functional tests that are representative of critical exploration mission tasks and to identify the key physiological factors that contribute to decrements in performance.

The FTT was comprised of seven functional tests and a corresponding set of interdisciplinary physiological measures targeting the sensorimotor, cardiovascular and muscular adaptations associated with exposure to space flight. The set of functional tasks making up the FTT included the: 1) Seat Egress and Walk Test, 2) Ladder Climb Test, 3) Recovery from Fall/Stand Test, 4) Rock Translation Test, 5) Jump Down Test, 6) Torque Generation Test, and 7) Construction Activity Board Test. Corresponding physiological measures include assessments of vestibular function, dynamic visual acuity, fine motor control, postural and locomotor stability, plasma volume, orthostatic intolerance, upper and lower body muscle strength, power, fatigue, control, and neuromuscular drive.

This study had the following specific aims:

  1. Determine the effects of short and long-duration space flight on functional performance.
  2. Compare the rate of recovery in functional performance between short and long-duration space flight.
  3. Determine how postflight changes in sensorimotor, cardiovascular, and muscle physiology impact functional performance.

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Arzeno NM, Stenger MB, Bloomberg JJ, and Platts SH. Spaceflight-induced cardiovascular changes and recovery during NASA's Functional Task Test. Acta Astronautica. 2013. November; 92(1):10-4.

Madansingh S. and Bloomberg JJ. Understanding the effects of spaceflight on head–trunk coordination during walking and obstacle avoidance. Acta Astronautica. 2015. October-November; 115:165-72. [DOI]

Peters BT, Miller CA, Brady RA, Richards JT, Mulavara AP, and Bloomberg JJ. Dynamic visual acuity during walking after long-duration spaceflight. Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine. 2011. April; 82(4):463-6.[]

Spiering BA, Lee SMC, Mulavara AP, Bentley JR, Buxton RE, Lawrence EL, Sinka J, Guilliams ME, Ploutz-Snyder LL, and Bloomberg JJ. Reliability of a test battery designed for quickly and safely assessing diverse indices of neuromuscular function. 57th Annual Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine, Baltimore, MD, June 2-5, 2010. [NTRS]

Spiering BA, Lee SMC, Mulavara AP, Bentley JR, Nash RE, Sinka J, and Bloomberg JJ. Using maximal isometric force to determine the optimal load for measuring dynamic muscle power. 56th Annual Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine, Seattle WA, May 27-30, 2009. [NTRS]

Mulavara AP, Peters BT, Miller CA, Kofman IS, Reschke MF, Taylor LC, Lawrence EL, Wood SJ, Laurie SS, Lee SMC, Buxton RE, May-Phillips TR, Stenger MB, Ploutz-Snyder LL, Ryder JW, Feiveson AH, and Bloomberg JJ. Physiological and functional alterations after spaceflight and bed rest. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 2018. September; 50(9):1961-80.

Miller CA, Kofman IS, Brady RR, May-Phillips TR, Batson CD, Lawrence EL, Taylor LC, Peters BT, Mulavara AP, Feiveson AH, Reschke MF, and Bloomberg JJ. Functional task and balance performance in bed rest subjects and astronauts. Aerospace Medicine and Human Performance. 2018. September; 89(9):805-15.

Cardiovascular deconditioning
Muscular atrophy
Task performance and analysis

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Data Information
Data Availability
Archive is complete. Data sets are not publicly available but can be requested.
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Activity board time
Blood volume
Diastolic blood pressure, difference
Diastolic blood pressure, fall recovery prone
Diastolic blood pressure, stand
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Mission/Study Information
Mission Launch/Start Date Landing/End Date Duration
Expedition 22 11/30/2009 03/18/2010 109 days
Expedition 23 03/18/2010 06/01/2010 75 days
Expedition 24 06/01/2010 09/25/2010 117 days
Expedition 25 09/24/2010 11/25/2010 31 days
Expedition 26 11/26/2010 03/16/2011 111 days
Expedition 27 03/14/2011 05/23/2011 70 days
Expedition 28 05/23/2011 09/15/2011 115 days
Expedition 29 09/16/2011 11/21/2011 40 days
Expedition 30 11/14/2011 04/27/2012 166 days
Expedition 31 04/27/2012 07/01/2012 65 days
Expedition 32 07/01/2012 09/16/2012 78 days
Expedition 34 11/18/2012 03/15/2013 117 days
Expedition 35 03/15/2013 05/13/2013 58 days
Expedition 36 05/13/2013 09/10/2013 166 days
Expedition 37 09/10/2013 11/10/2013 61 days
Expedition 38 11/10/2013 03/10/2014 120 days
Expedition 39 03/10/2014 05/13/2014 64 days
Expedition 40 05/13/2014 09/10/2014 133 days
Expedition 41 09/10/2014 11/09/2014 29 days
Expedition 42 11/10/2014 03/11/2015 121 days
Expedition 43 03/11/2015 06/10/2015 91 days
Expedition 44 06/10/2015 09/11/2015 93 days
Expedition 45 09/11/2015 12/11/2015 91 days
Expedition 46 12/11/2015 03/02/2016 82 days
STS-128 08/28/2009 09/11/2009 14 days
STS-129 11/16/2009 11/27/2009 11 days
STS-131 04/05/2010 04/20/2010 15 days
STS-133 02/24/2011 03/09/2011 13 days
STS-135 07/08/2011 07/21/2011 13 days

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)
Alternate Experiment Name
DSO 640
Proposal Date
Proposal Source
Directed Research