Integrating Microgravity Medical Suction and Microgravity Surgical Facility

PI: Steven Collicott, Purdue University, Charles Cuttino (Co-I), Orbital Medicine Inc.

Human spaceflight to the Moon and beyond will require a wealth of health care-related technologies, potentially including those to aid surgery in the uniquely challenging environment of space. Researchers at Purdue University, in collaboration with the University of Louisville and Orbital Medicine, Inc., are advancing methods for Integrating Microgravity Medical Suction and a Microgravity Surgical Facility. The work combines previously flown hardware—an aqueous immersion surgical system and medical suction device—along with a new component to deliver a combined system prototype for suborbital testing.

Technology Areas (?)
  • NA
Problem Statement

Durational human spaceflight carries with it the risk of medical emergencies. Unfortunately, terrestrial surgical systems will not work inspace in the same way they do here on Earth—a fact requiring new space-based innovations to address potentially life-threatening emergencies in zero gravity. In particular, treatment of the pneumothorax and hemothorax may be of particular importance. Surgery in space will require advanced control of liquids (blood and other fluids) as well as separation of blood and air.

Technology Maturation

Various components included in this work are currently at TRL 4, 5, or 6; the combined system is currently at TRL 4. Successful parabolic flight testing should advance the TRL of the combined system to 6. Follow-on longer duration testing in zero gravitymay be needed. This work is a continuation of previous flight testing under T0049, T0155, andT0162.

Future Customers

•Crewed NASA space exploration missions
•Crewed commercial space exploration mission

Technology Details

  • Selection Date
    TechFlights20 (Sep 2020)
  • Program Status
  • Current TRL (?)
    Successful FOP Flights
  • 0 Parabolic

Development Team

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