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.

First microgravity flight day

Orbital Medicine had a successful field test of the prototype structure for a medical chest drainage device today. The flight test took place from Ellington Field, TX with the NASA Reduced Gravity Office. Flown on the Zero G 727-200 parabolic aircraft, the device was tested under lunar and zero gravity conditions.  The first tested configurations successfully separated the simulated blood from the air under both gravity conditions and would provide an effective treatment of a pneumothorax in an emergency.

Further flight testing on additional configurations will continue through the end of the week. Two flight are planned for Thursday, weather permitting.

Flight week update

The Orbital Medicine research project has passed the NASA flight readiness review and has been loaded on the Zero G corporation 727-200 in the flight configuration. Should the weather hold out with a visible horizon tomorrow the chest tube drainage system will have it’s maiden microgravity flight thanks to NASA Flight Opportunities and the NASA Reduced Gravity Office.

Dr. Cuttino will be joined by Dr. Shawn Borich, and Dr. Greg Kovacs on the flight tomorrow. Ground support will be by Richard Wiard.

Orbital Medicine’s NASA Parabolic Flight scheduled

The Orbital Medicine research flight has been manifested and scheduled by NASA. The flight is currently set for May 14-18th 2012 out of Ellington Field in Houston, Texas. This is the inital flight sponsored by the Flight Opportunities Program. The testing will be done in conjunction with the NASA Reduced Gravity Office.

Orbital Medicine will be evaluating a chest tube drainage device to determine its effectiveness in the microgravity environment. An educational demonstration will be filmed during the flight.

Additional experiments will be done in conjunction with Dr. Greg Kovacs of Stanford University. The inital Test Equipment Data Package has been completed and the experimental hardware is being finalized for the flight.

Increasing the Technology Readiness Level

Technology Readiness Level (TRL) is a measure used by NASA, some United States government agencies and many of the world’s major companies (and agencies) to assess the maturity of evolving technologies (materials, components, devices, etc.) prior to incorporating that technology into a system or subsystem. Generally speaking, when a new technology is first invented or conceptualized, it is not suitable for immediate application. Instead, new technologies are usually subjected to experimentation, refinement, and increasingly realistic testing. Once the technology is sufficiently proven, it can be incorporated into a system or subsystem.

For NASA, TRL 6 involves system/subsystem model or prototype demonstration in a relevant environment (Ground analog, microgravity flight)

TRL 7 is a system prototype in a space environment, and TRL 8 is an actual system completed, and “flight qualified” and evaluated for the space environment.

Usability and feasibility in microgravity

In space the lack of gravity has an often-unexpected influence on devices and their operation. Many devices that were developed for the terrestrial environment will simply not work in zero gravity. By having experienced researchers to assist with the development of your product, we can help insure a smoother testing and development phase.

Usability and feasibility in hypergravity (2 to 6 g’s)

Just as the factors of microgravity significantly change the operation of the device, when the device changes the effective weight during acceleration, unforeseen consequence can occur. An example from my own research demonstrates that the safety devices on IV needles will spontaneously fire during a hypergravity load of as little as 1.5 g, rendering them useless for gaining IV access.