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Apollo Flight Crew Health Stabilization Program (APHSP)
Principal Investigators
Research Area:
Clinical medicine
Species Studied
Scientific Name: Homo sapiens Species: Human

During the conduct of the early manned space flight program, the threat of an infectious disease occurrence in one or more crewmembers was always present. Although this threat is present during all phases of the preflight period, it is more critical, and potentially hazardous, during some phases than during others. Several potential dangers are associated with the occurrence of infectious diseases during a period immediately before launch. One or more crew members could be exposed to an infectious disease agent, become ill and not recuperate sufficiently by launch day; this occurrence could have resulted in launch delays. In addition, a crew member could be exposed to disease during the last days before launch and not exhibit symptoms during the preflight physical examinations. The probability would then exist for symptoms to become apparent during flight, where adequate medical treatment would be unavailable; this would also expose other crew members to infection. Furthermore, the loss of the capabilities of the ill crew member would impact the operations of the mission.

Though the risk of infection during the Gemini and Mercury missions was judged to be very low because of their short durations, some precautions (such as restricted access to the crew living quarters) were still taken to reduce the risk of crew members being exposed to disease. With the increased length of missions during the Apollo program, these health risks increased. Still, this type of plan was not implemented until the Apollo 14 mission. Previous attempts to implement the program were not completed due to operational problems or conflicts with the training schedules of the crew. However, with the exposure of a prime Apollo 13 crew member to rubella, the need for a more meticulously conceived and strictly enforced program was evident.

The Flight Crew Health Stabilization Program was finally implemented starting with the Apollo 14 mission. The objective of this program was to minimize or eliminate the possibility of adverse alterations in the health of the flight crews during the immediate preflight, inflight and postflight periods. The Flight Crew Health Stabilization Program covered four elements: Clinical Medicine, Immunology, Exposure Prevention, and Epidemiological Surveillance.

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Anderson M, Rummel JA, Deutsch S. BIOSPEX: Biological Space Experiments, A Compendium of Life Science Experiments Carried on U. S. Spacecraft. Houston, TX: NASA Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center; 1979:20. NASA-TM-58217. [NTRS]

Berry CA. Summary of Medical Experience in the Apollo 7 Through 11 Manned Spaceflights. Aerospace Medicine. 1970:41(5):510-512. []

Wooley BC, McCollum GW. Flight crew health stabilization program. Biomedical Results of Apollo. In: Johnson RS, Dietlein LF, Berry CA, eds. Washington, DC: NASA Headquarters; 1975:141-149. NASA SP-368. [NTRS]

Wooley BC. Apollo Experience Report: Protection of Life and Health. Washington DC: NASA Headquarters; 1972:19-28. NASA-TN-D-6856. [NTRS]

Allergy and immunology
Clinical medicine
Primary prevention
Population surveillance

Data Information
Data Availability
Archive is complete. All data sets are on the Web site.
Data Sets + View data.

Chicken pox
Control group
Ear infection
Gastrointestinal infection
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Mission/Study Information
Mission Launch/Start Date Landing/End Date Duration
Apollo 14 01/31/1971 02/09/1971 9 days
Apollo 15 07/26/1971 08/07/1971 12 days
Apollo 16 04/16/1972 04/27/1972 11 days
Apollo 17 12/07/1972 12/19/1972 12 days

Additional Information
Managing NASA Center
Johnson Space Center (JSC)
Responsible NASA Representative
Johnson Space Center LSDA Office
Project Manager: Pamela A. Bieri
Institutional Support
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)