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Evaluation of Maximal Oxygen Uptake and Submaximal Estimates of VO2max Before, During, and After Long Duration International Space Station Missions (VO2max)
Principal Investigator
Research Area:
Cardiovascular physiology
Pulmonary physiology
Species Studied
Scientific Name: Homo sapiens Species: Human

Evaluation of Maximal Oxygen Uptake (VO2max) and Submaximal Estimates of VO2max Before, During, and After Long Duration International Space Station Missions will document the characteristics of maximum oxygen uptake (VO2max) during flight and to assess the validity of the current methods of tracking aerobic capacity change during and following International Space Station (ISS) missions.

VO2max is the standard measure of aerobic capacity and is directly related to the physical working capacity of an individual. The VO2max of an individual is affected by uptake of oxygen in the lungs, extraction of oxygen from the arterial circulation by working muscles and by cardiac output. Aerobic deconditioning causes a lowering of VO2max which results in a diminished capacity to perform strenuous physical tasks. Heart rate data previously collected during cycle exercise tests onboard the ISS indicate that VO2max is likely lowered during and following flight; however, actual measurements of VO2max have not been made during long-duration space flight.

The European Space Agency (ESA) provided Portable Pulmonary Function System (PPFS), which was used to measure the oxygen uptake, cardiac output, heart rate, and blood pressure responses of the astronaut participants when performing a cycle exercise test at submaximal, maximal, and peak levels. The maximal exercise tests conducted during flight occurred during portions of the ISS orbit suitable for real-time downlink of single lead electrocardiograph data.

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Moore AD Jr, Downs ME, Lee SM, Feiveson AH, Knudsen P, and Ploutz-Snyder L. Peak exercise oxygen uptake during and following long-duration spaceflight. Journal of Applied Physiology. 2014. August 1; 117(3):231-8. []

Carbon dioxide (CO2)
Cardiac output
Heart rate
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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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Blood pressure
Body weight
Carbon dioxide gas concentration
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Mission/Study Information
Mission Launch/Start Date Landing/End Date Duration
Expedition 20 05/27/2009 10/11/2009 137 days
Expedition 21 10/11/2009 12/01/2009 51 days
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

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.

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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