Physical Performance, Countermeasures, and Postflight Reconditioning

  • Stuart M. C. LeeEmail author
  • Richard A. Scheuring
  • Mark E. Guilliams
  • Eric L. Kerstman


The objective of this chapter is to review aspects of astronaut conditioning and countermeasures as they are currently applied by NASA. Specifically, the chapter will cover (a) a general overview of the current knowledge of spaceflight-induced deconditioning and potential interactions with performance of mission critical tasks; (b) a short history of the development and description of current countermeasure hardware and practices available to the International Space Station (ISS) astronauts and cosmonauts; (c) the current strength and conditioning program used pre-, in-, and postflight for a typical 6-month ISS mission; (d) the processes of astronaut selection, retention, and musculoskeletal medical care; and (e) perspectives on the future of astronaut conditioning programs, including prospective countermeasures, for astronauts participating in exploration mission.


Postflight reconditioning Astronaut conditioning Astronaut training Spaceflight deconditioning Spaceflight countermeasures Postflight Rehabilitation 



The authors acknowledge the contributions of past and present astronaut conditioning specialists at Johnson Space Center (J. Loehr, B. Nieschwitz, D. Hoellen, W. Amonette, Y. Garcia, C. Twine, J. Chauvin, B. Shepherd, S. Fox and C. Keeler) who helped to develop and implement the US countermeasure program through their own efforts as well as through consultation with national and international experts on conditioning and rehabilitation; members of the Exercise Physiology Laboratory who participated in research and assisted in the implementation of Space Shuttle and ISS hardware and protocols; subject matter experts who provided feedback regarding specific sections of this chapter (Dr. Michael Stenger, Dr. Steven Platts, Dr. John Charles, Dr. Alan Moore, Dr. Doug Ebert, Dr. Scott Smith, Dr. Jacob Bloomberg, Dr. Kirk English, and Dr. Cedric Senter); content reviewers Drs. Meghan Downs and Warren Franke; Kim So and Janine Bolton of the Space Life Sciences Library for their assistance with obtaining reference materials; Aerospace Medical Board secretary D. Barousse; Musculoskeletal Medicine and Rehabilitation project manager Terri Blatt; Dr. Mike Rosner, chief of neurosurgery, Walter Reed Army Medical Center; and Dr. William Tarver, deputy chief of the NASA-JSC Flight Medicine Clinic and inputs from astronauts Daniel Burbank, Sunita Williams, Dr. Sandra Magnus, and Stephen Bowen.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stuart M. C. Lee
    • 1
    Email author
  • Richard A. Scheuring
    • 2
    • 3
  • Mark E. Guilliams
    • 4
  • Eric L. Kerstman
    • 5
  1. 1.Cardiovascular and Vision Laboratory, Biomedical and Environmental ResearchKBRHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Space MedicineNASA Johnson Space CenterHoustonUSA
  3. 3.Houston Methodist HospitalHoustonUSA
  4. 4.KBRHoustonUSA
  5. 5.Space MedicineUniversity of Texas Medical Branch/KBRHoustonUSA

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