Bioastronautics encompasses biological, behavioral and medical aspects governing humans and other living organisms in a space flight environment; and includes design of payloads, spacecraft habitats, and life support systems. In short, this focus area spans the study and support of life in space.
Courses offered address complementary aspects of space life sciences research and spacecraft habitat design. The curriculum is closely aligned with NASA Programs and Commercial Space Transportation goals, and has strong ties to BioServe Space Technologies, a research center in the Aerospace Department. The life science-oriented subject matter is intended to provide a systematic overview of basic human physiology, with an emphasis on how living organisms adapt to space flight and the countermeasures needed to maintain crew health as a consequence of these adaptations. These life support fundamentals then form the basis for defining spacecraft habitat design requirements. Finally, a Systems Engineering approach is used to couple these human-driven requirements with the top-level mission objectives in order to determine and rationalize an optimal design solution. Although this focus area is primarily tailored for individuals pursuing MS and PhD studies that are directly relevant to Bioastronautics, it can also serve to augment the knowledge of students engaged in more traditional aerospace topics who may have an interest in human space flight applications of their particular field of study.
Current life science research covers a wide array of subject matter such as biomedical countermeasures against bone and muscle loss in space, and microbial responses to weightlessness with related pharmaceutical applications. Engineering design projects address development of advanced spacesuit technologies and analysis of next generation human spacecraft. This focus area is geared toward preparing graduates for career opportunities within NASA's Exploration Program, as well as in the up-and-coming personal space flight commercial sector.
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David M. Klaus, Associate Professor, Associate Director of Bioserve
Louis Stodieck, Research Professor, Director of Bioserve
Virginia Ferguson, Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering
Joseph Tanner, Senior Instructor
James S. Voss, Scholar in Residence and Roubos Chair