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Investigation of Occupant Injury Risk in the Soyuz Vehicle and Comparison to Commercial Crew Designs (80NSSC20K1483)
Principal Investigator
Research Area:
Human Factors and Performance Team
Species Studied
Scientific Name: N/A Species: Not applicable



Currently, US astronauts return to Earth aboard the Soyuz spacecraft. Recent evidence has shown that the occurrence of injuries in crewmembers landing in the Soyuz spacecraft is higher than predicted by current models. There are several possible explanations for this trend: the landing impacts are harder than predicted, current models do not accurately capture the true injury risk, space flight deconditioning decreases the crewmembers’ tolerance to impact, or some combination of the three. In addition, NASA and commercial companies are developing three new capsule-type spacecraft in which crewmembers will be subjected to a landing impact at the end of the mission. To improve the understanding of Soyuz crewmember injury risk, as well as risk to future crew onboard the Orion, SpaceX Dragon2, and Boeing CST-100, the researchers propose a computational study, which will assess the injury risk to Soyuz crewmembers in a direct and relative sense.

Soyuz landings with midsize male human body finite element (FE) models will be simulated, and injury risk predictions will be correlated with actual injury outcomes observed from the HRP-funded Soyuz Landing Injury Risk Characterization Study (Soyuz_Impact_Risk). Afterwards, relative risk between the different vehicles will be determined by comparing outcome data from new simulations of Soyuz landings to previous mid-size male human body FE results from the HRP-funded ATD Injury Metric Sensitivity and Extensibility Study (ATD_Sensitivity_Study).

This study has the following specific aims:

1) Identify expected injury risks associated with Soyuz nominal and off-nominal landing scenarios.

2) Examine differences in injury risk to crew as a function of seat / restraint and loading combinations between Soyuz and modern vehicle designs.

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Models, anatomic
Technology assessment

Data Information
Data Availability
Archiving in progress. Data is not yet available for this experiment.

Break cord force
Peak axial compression force
Peak axial tension force
Peak chest compression
Peak clavicle force
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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
Institutional Support
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Proposal Date
Proposal Source
2019 HERO 80JSC019N0001-FLAGSHIP & OMNIBUS: Human Research Program Crew Health. Appendix A&B