Last Published:  03/29/18 08:54:54 AM (Central)
Responsible Element: Human Factors and Behavioral Performance (HFBP)
Status: Open

Present State of Knowledge:

 Current ISS operations are based on a six person international crew living and working for six months in low Earth orbit. While astronauts generally thrive on these missions, there have been anecdotal evidence and research reports of psychosocial issues occurring in spaceflight, both on the ISS and in other environments. There is a need for validated countermeasures to promote individual behavioral health and performance   during exploration missions. The countermeasures identified will need to consider anticipated mission constraints. Future missions will exceed the current ISS duration of six-months, with exploration missions projected to take as long as three years, exposing astronauts to stressors over a much longer timeframe. Additionally, the increased autonomy and isolation from Earth may impose a significant psychological strain upon crews.


Currently, ISS missions are supported by significant infrastructure from social and operational support, including health, psychological, and technical support. The type of support provided for ISS operations will not be possible for future exploration missions owing to the prevalence of communication delays and distance from Earth. The impact of these support systems and the psychosocial countermeasures needed for long duration exploration missions (<6; 6-12; >12 months) beyond low Earth orbit are not known.


This gap serves to provide the countermeasures necessary to support crew behavioral health (dependent on information obtained from addressing Gaps 1 and 2). Countermeasures developed will address the pre-, during-, and post-mission phases of exploration missions. From the threats and promoters identified and baselined (in Gaps 1 and 2) for Earth-levels, current countermeasures and readiness levels of research deliverables (tools and technologies) will be reviewed. We will examine the gap between the available information in the extant literature and what is needed for future exploration missions and solicit studies to address those areas. We will solicit studies to develop and validate countermeasures to fill this gap. These countermeasures will be validated in high fidelity exploration analogs and ultimately ISS. Periodic tech watches will ensure that the most advanced state of the art technology is in use.  

Target for Closure

Develop a validated set of psychosocial support countermeasures targeting key indicators (from Gaps 1 and 2) that maintain individual behavioral health and performance. These countermeasures should be targeted to pre-mission preparation, in-flight adaptation and functional readiness, and post-mission transition/rehabilitation.

(1) Identified set of psychosocial support countermeasures targeting key indicators to maintain behavioral health and performance.

(2) Verified and validated countermeasures in ground-based analogs with astronaut-like subjects.

Risk Risk of Adverse Cognitive or Behavioral Conditions and Psychiatric Disorders
You are here! Gap BMed1: We need to identify and validate countermeasures that promote individual behavioral health and performance during exploration class missions.

No Documentation Available