NASA astronauts to use Vivid q for research aboard International Space Station
Milwaukee, Wisc. – July 6, 2011 – GE Healthcare today announced that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has selected GE Healthcare’s Vivid™ q Cardiovascular Ultrasound system for delivery to the International Space Station (ISS) on its final space shuttle flight. The Vivid q will be launched on the space shuttle Atlantis, scheduled to launch on July 8, 2011.
NASA selected the Vivid q following a rigorous regimen of spaceflight hardware qualification and acceptance testing. The customized Vivid q will be used on-board ISS as part of NASA’s human research program, specifically to help assess the impact of long duration microgravity space flight on astronauts.
“We are honored that NASA, a world leader in developing and testing true cutting edge technology, has selected Vivid q as the cardiovascular ultrasound for this space mission,” said Al Lojewski, Vice President and General Manager of GE Healthcare’s Cardiovascular Ultrasound Unit. “We are excited that the Vivid q’s exceptional imaging capabilities will also now support NASA’s important research in space flight and the impact of space travel on the human physiology.”
Vivid q is a compact, lightweight diagnostic ultrasound system about the size of a laptop, enabling portability and ease of use. The Vivid q is designed for cardiovascular imaging and enables assessment of LV function and cardiac performance. The panoramic scan feature offered by the Vivid q is a capability NASA has not had available in space before.
NASA plans to use the equipment to replace and upgrade a 10-year-old ultrasound unit that stopped operating earlier this year in its Human Research Facility. The Vivid q device will be used for general crew health assessment, and in NASA space research investigations such as Integrated Cardiovascular, which looks at the weakening of heart muscles associated with long-duration spaceflight, and the Integrated Resistance and Aerobic Training Study (Sprint) evaluation of the use of high intensity, low volume exercise training to minimize loss of muscle, bone, and cardiovascular function in astronauts.
A European Space Agency experiment called Vascular Echography (Vessel Imaging) will use the device to help evaluate changes in central and peripheral blood vessel wall properties (thickness and compliance) and cross-sectional areas of station astronauts during and after long-term exposure to microgravity.
Vivid q may also be used in NASA’s New Millennium Observatory Network (NeMO Net) extreme mission operation, providing underwater space simulation. NeMO Net is a near-real-time data communications system which links instruments located in a submarine volcano, one mile underwater and 300 miles offshore of Oregon, to the Internet.
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