The major activity of the Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Physiology Laboratory is the development of prebreathe reduction protocols designed to investigate and reduce or alleviate the risk of decompression sickness. Laboratory personnel participate in the design and execution of experiments to evaluate potential protocols.
The objectives of these activities are:
- to develop and test decompression sickness countermeasures
- to develop prebreathe prescription standards
- to support crew training
- to validate prebreathe protocols
Additional laboratory support includes investigating the consequences of a break in prebreathe and the effects of ambulation before and after an exercise prebreathe. Personnel participate in the design and execution of experiments to evaluate these new protocols. The results of these studies will add to the decompression sickness risk mitigation knowledge base and be applied to current prebreathe procedures.
Support is provided for operational EVA for the International Space Station and the Space Shuttle. Activities include:
- the development of individualized exercise prescriptions and the training of Shuttle and International Space Station crew members in performing the exercise prebreathe reduction protocol
- taking metabolic cost measurements during crew member EVA training in the Sonny Carter Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory
These activities support medical operations through reports to the flight surgeons, development of the required documentation, maintenance of relevant databases and attendance at required meetings.