About Dr. Cuttino

Dr. Marsh Cuttino is an Emergency Medicine physician in Richmond, VA. He is board certified in Emergency Medicine and a Fellow of both the American Academy of Emergency Medicine and the American College of Emergency Medicine. He was an assistant professor of Emergency Medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University. He has worked at NASA as a launch and landing support physician for the Space Shuttle. He is active in microgravity medical research and has flown multiple campaigns on the NASA Parabolic Flight Laboratory, the "Weightless Wonder"

Successful Flight Experiment Today on the Blue Origin New Shepard

Orbital Medicine achieves successful test flight with specialized medical device for collapsed lungs in space

Suction device could save lives in space and would be required for Moon, Mars missions

RICHMOND, VA (DECEMBER 12, 2017) – Private aerospace company Blue Origin launched its New Shepard space vehicle on Dec 12 with a payload that included a medical device to treat traumatic chest trauma in a zero-gravity space environment.

The Evolved Medical Microgravity Suction Device, developed by C. Marsh Cuttino, MD and his team at Orbital Medicine Inc. in Richmond, could assist in treatment of a collapsed lung where air and blood enter the pleural cavity. The payload – which included the device along with a hemothorax simulator – was constructed in collaboration with the Purdue University School of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

In the event an astronaut suffers from a collapsed lung (traumatic pneumothorax) in space, they must return to Earth quickly for medical treatment with gravity-dependent collectors that will not work in a zero-gravity environment. The Orbital Medicine Evolved Medical Microgravity Suction Device, however, is able to collect blood in microgravity, and still allows for the suction to continuously inflate the lung and allow it to heal. The device is constructed so blood can be collected and transfused into an injured astronaut.

The payload test apparatus has a microgravity suction system, collection device, and pneumothorax simulator. The apparatus simulates an injured person, and shows how the device removes the air and blood to promote healing.

“My hope is that in the future, this type of medical device will be able to save the life of an astronaut, to continue their mission of exploration,” Dr. Cuttino said. “These types of medical treatment options will be required to explore the Moon and Mars.”

The Orbital Medicine payload flew onboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard system, a space vehicle capable of vertical takeoffs and landings and able to carry hundreds of pounds of payloads per flight. New Shepard is expected to ultimately carry six astronauts to altitudes beyond 100 kilometers, the internationally-recognized boundary of space.  

Orbital Medicine’s suction device technology was selected in November 2015 under a NASA Flight Opportunities Grant, and has already flown on parabolic flights with program funding. Previous parabolic flights helped to refine the design, and paved the way for the current private test with Blue Origin.


Orbital Medicine Inc. was founded by Charles Marsh Cuttino, MD to develop and provide healthcare solutions for the space environment. Dr. Cuttino is a board-certified emergency physician who is experienced in aerospace medicine, disaster, and mass casualty medicine. A former professor, he is currently the Chairman of Emergency Medicine for a five-hospital system and a Federal Aviation Administration Aviation Medical Examiner. He has provided past medical support for NASA Space Shuttle operations, and continues to research microgravity medical issues. For more information, visit www.orbitalmedicine.com

Photos courtesy of Blue Origin

Orbital Medicine founder to speak at NSRC 2017

Dr. Cuttino will be speaking on his event medical experiences in a talk entitled:

“NASCAR to NASA: Event Medicine for Suborbital Spaceflight Operations”

The talk will highlight the challenges and opportunities when providing medical support in complex environments with significant technical challenges. The link to the abstract is provided here.

Dr. Cuttino is a member of the NSRC program committee, and will be chairing 2 panel sessions.

Monday, December 18th, 2017

4:00pm – 5:00pm

“Human Tended Research Flights”

Chair: Marsh Cuttino

Panelists: Sirisha Bandla; Dan Durda; Michelle Peters; Erika Wagner; Charlie Walker


Tuesday December 19th, 2017

4:00pm – 5:00pm

“Spacecraft Risk and Safety Concerns”

Chair: Marsh Cuttino, M.D.

Panelists: Jeff Ashby; Melchor Antuñano, M.D., M.S.; Jim Vanderplough, M.D.



Completion of the NASA Flight Opportunities Grant

Orbital Medicine successfully completed a second flight campaign under the auspices of the NASA Flight Opportunities Grant. This flight campaign was undertaken in conjunction with the Reduced Gravity Flight Education Program.

It was exciting to see the pioneering work done by students at some of the United States top universities.

Orbital Medicine wishes to thank both the Flight Opportunities Program, Zero-G Corporation and the Reduced Gravity Office for the assistance in completing the successful research campaign.

The experimental results are being used to create the next generation research designs.

Stanford Flight Week Starts Tomorrow

Orbital Medicine’s Dr. Marsh Cuttino leaves for sunny Houston, Texas for a flight week campaign supporting the Stanford Department of Electrical Engineering. Dr. Greg Kovacs and Dr. Richard Wiard will be testing their ballistocardiograph in microgravity aboard the NASA Reduced Gravity Office’s parabolic aircraft. The flight is supported by a grant through NASA’s flight opportunity program. We look forward to a great campaign!