Novel Musculoskeletal Loading System

PI: Meghan Downs, Nathaniel Newby (Co-I), NASA/Johnson Space Center

The team has developed, instrumented, and tested a prototype pulley-based system that attaches to a pre-existing small exercise device to allow for shoulder loading capability, the Musculoskeletal Loading System (MLS). Smooth range of motion and even load distribution across both shoulders has been demonstrated. From experience we know that biomechanical exercise form differs between 1-G and 0-G even when using the exact same device. These differences will be important to identify and evaluate in order to improve MLS hardware design prior to use on ISS. The opportunity to test the MLS during parabolic flight will provide valuable information that will be ultimately used to improve and optimize future exercise hardware and astronauts health.

Technology Areas (?)
  • TA06 Human Health, Life Support and Habitation Systems
Problem Statement

Functionally limiting decrements in musculoskeletal health, particularly at the spine, hip, and lower body, are likely during all exploration class missions given extended transit times and exploration vehicle mass and volume limitations for exercise devices. The ability to perform resistance exercises with two-point loading at the shoulders is critical in protecting these specific anatomical locations, but is not achievable with current single-cable exercise device designs intended for future exploration vehicles.

Technology Details

  • Selection Date
    NASA Internal (Mar 2016)
  • Program Status
  • Current TRL (?)
    Successful FOP Flights
  • 0 Parabolic

Development Team

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