In envihab’s Physiology Lab scientists concentrate on two main areas: spaceflight and aviation. Their research is focused on health and performance maintenance.
The spaceflight-related research is concerned with the assessment of health parameters and physical performance capacity in astronauts during and following space missions. In this area, two physiological systems are in the center of interest: the cardiovascular and the locomotor system. Aim of the work is the development of countermeasures against the deleterious effects of weightlessness on the aforementioned systems. Tilt testing (TT) and/or the application of lower body negative pressure (LBNP) are methodological approaches used to provide orthostatic stress. Other technology, such as a treadmill with integrated ground reaction force plates or an isokinetic dynamometer, is used for gait analysis as well as for systemic and/or localized muscle performance testing during and following simulated or real weightlessness.
Research in the barocomplex of Module 2 is focused on aviation related topics, but mountaineering and spaceflight scenarios can be simulated as well. The facility offers a wide range of opportunities to implement experiments under variable atmospheric conditions: ambient pressure, oxygen levels, temperature and humidity can be adjusted independently. The complex can be used as one large hall (to study large groups in an airliner routine, for example) or it can be divided into eight private apartment units to study, for example, sleep and circadian rhythm. Sanitary installations operating under the same climatic conditions are available. Via an airlock staff can access the pressurized area and subjects can be supplied with all their needs. In addition, large mock-ups (like airplane cabin segments or crew-rest compartments) or even complete airplane subsystems can be brought into the facility, making it possible to test integral systems under realistic flight conditions.