Task Next Generation Microbiology Requirements (Completed)
Last Published:  07/29/22 01:33:24 PM (Central)
Short Title: NextGen Micro
Responsible HRP Element: Space Human Factors and Habitability
Collaborating Org(s):
Funding Status: Completed - Task completed and produced a deliverable
Procurement Mechanism(s):

Microbiological requirements that mitigate risk to the crew during space flight missions are periodically updated to reflect changes in the scientific understanding of microbial pathogenicity, our knowledge of the response of microorganisms to the space flight environment, effects of space flight upon human immunity, and advances in monitoring technology. Based on new knowledge and available technologies, a review of microbiological requirements was performed by three expert panels held from 2011 through 2013. These panels focused on requirements associated with potable water, space flight food, and vehicle air and surfaces specifically described in NASA Space Flight Human System Standard (NASA-STD-3001). The forum on Space Flight Foods was co-sponsored by the Space Food Systems Laboratory at the Johnson Space Center.


Evaluation of the recommendations from all three forums indicated twelve common themes, such as the need for appropriate microbiological training for individuals who would be developing or operating space flight systems and guidelines for current and future microbiological monitoring technology. The reoccurrence of these themes in multiple panels reinforced the importance of the consideration of these recommendations.


These forums provided the opportunity to formally update and document our knowledge base for space flight microbiological requirements. As this type of forum has not occurred in the past 20 years, the amount of data and documentation was extensive. To streamline future efforts, smaller forums should occur at closer intervals, such as every 5 years, to both decrease the information to be reviewed and enable more rapid implementation of new technology and scientific findings.

While implementation of these recommendations was outside of the scope of this study, the co-sponsorship of a forum with the Space Food Systems Laboratory accelerated the acceptance of the recommendations toward updated food monitoring requirements. In addition, recommendations concerning potable water monitoring have already been incorporated into a draft of new set of requirements for microbiological water quality that are being used to help design advanced microbiological monitoring hardware for space flight. Many of the recommendations in this report addressed medical operations, environmental sciences, and engineering activities. As such, this report will be forwarded for consideration to Space and Clinical Operations Division, the Biomedical Research and Environmental Sciences Division, and the Engineering Directorate for their consideration.

This task provides the initial recommendations that will be used to update the environmental microbiology monitoring requirements for spaceflight air, surfaces, water, and food. 

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