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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

Texas A&M: Space Health – Funding Awarded to Develop Comprehensive Plan to Implement an International Medical Database of Retired Astronauts

With roughly 70 years of human space travel, longitudinal medical data of retired astronauts on the international level has never been collected by any space agency. Texas A&M researchers received funding from the Translational Research Institute for Space Health and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to investigate the possibility of developing the first-ever international data repository for retired astronauts.

The Retired Astronaut Medical Data Repository Feasibility Project (RADAR) received $190,000 to develop a comprehensive plan for a medical database for retired astronauts. The goal is to facilitate research on the long-term health effects of space travel by using a larger sample of data that can be provided through this data repository. Mr. Cason Schmit, assistant professor at the Texas A&M School of Public Health, is the co-principal investigator along with Drs. Bonnie Dunbar and Susan Bloomfield. Mr. Schmit will coordinate the development of consent forms and assure compliance with health privacy laws across countries before the full implementation of the data repository.

Researchers will first survey retired space explorers and other stakeholders from international space programs at the Association of Space Explorers Convention and the International Space Medicine Summit in October to determine what barriers/challenges exist for retired astronauts who want to share their medical info. Mr. Schmit will then develop consent forms that would allow retired astronauts to share their medical info with the data repository and permit researchers to collect info from autopsy reports after astronauts pass away. Researchers plan to develop a custom personal health record platform to help astronauts share their health info data with the proposed RADAR system.

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