Medical capabilities aboard Space Station Freedom will support rapid emergency response, advanced cardiac and trauma life support, and continuing care during transport back to Earth. The Crew Health Care System (CHeCS) Health Maintenance Facility(HMF) provides deployable medical equipment specifically suited to the peculiarities of this mission. Design and development involve adaptation of terrestrial components for use in space. Versatile packaging and interface approaches and creative innovations account for a unique user population and multiple unusual use environments.
This technical paper presents an overview of Space Station Freedom deployable medical equipment design, development, and projected use. The paper describes design status for deployable life support equipment and medical officer, patient, and equipment restraints. The paper further describes user, utility, and physical interfaces, environments including Space Station Freedom resource node and hyperbaric chamber, STS Orbiter middeck, and Assured Crew Return Vehicle (ACRV). Background on developmental processes and activities illustrates a range of considerations for adapting terrestrial equipment and activities to foreign environments. Among the processes discussed are various evaluative techniques involving prototype hardware and medical simulations in various evaluation environments, including mock-ups of SSF elements, parabolic flight simulations, and underwater neutral buoyancy testing. The paper also describes the THEME process (Terrestrial Hardware Engineered for the Environment) for adapting terrestrial components for space applications.
CHeCS portable medical equipment development has presented many unique challenges. Crews living and working aboard Space Station Freedom will identify additional needs that may be addressed through adaptation of terrestrial hardware. Current CHeCS hardware development may serve as a model for such adaptation.