Prototype development of a tradespace analysis tool for spaceflight medical resources

Erik L. Antonsen, Robert A. Mulcahy, David Rubin, Rebecca S. Blue, Michael A. Canga, Ronak Shah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


INTRODUCTION: The provision of medical care in exploration-class spaceflight is limited by mass, volume, and power constraints, as well as limitations of available skillsets of crewmembers. A quantitative means of exploring the risks and benefits of inclusion or exclusion of onboard medical capabilities may help to inform the development of an appropriate medical system. A pilot project was designed to demonstrate the utility of an early tradespace analysis tool for identifying high-priority resources geared toward properly equipping an exploration mission medical system. METHODS: Physician subject matter experts identified resources, tools, and skillsets required, as well as associated criticality scores of the same, to meet terrestrial, U.S.-specific ideal medical solutions for conditions concerning for exploration-class spaceflight. A database of diagnostic and treatment actions and resources was created based on this input and weighed against the probabilities of mission-specific medical events to help identify common and critical elements needed in a future exploration medical capability. RESULTS: Analysis of repository data demonstrates the utility of a quantitative method of comparing various medical resources and skillsets for future missions. Directed database queries can provide detailed comparative estimates concerning likelihood of resource utilization within a given mission and the weighted utility of tangible and intangible resources. DISCUSSION: This prototype tool demonstrates one quantitative approach to the complex needs and limitations of an exploration medical system. While this early version identified areas for refinement in future version development, more robust analysis tools may help to inform the development of a comprehensive medical system for future exploration missions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)108-114
Number of pages7
JournalAerospace Medicine and Human Performance
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Exploration spaceflight
  • Medical capability
  • Prototype
  • Quantitative analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Prototype development of a tradespace analysis tool for spaceflight medical resources'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this