Quantification of In-Flight Physical Changes - Anthropometry and Neutral Body Posture (Body Measures) - 01.16.19

Overview | Description | Applications | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
Currently, NASA does not have sufficient in-flight anthropometric data (body measurements) gathered to assess the impact of physical body shape and size changes on suit sizing. This study (for which data collection is now complete) involves collecting anthropometric data (body measurements) using digital still and video imagery and a tape measure to measure segmental length, height, depth, and circumference data for all body segments (i.e., chest, waist, hip, arms, legs, etc.) from astronauts for pre-, post-, and in-flight conditions.
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

The following content was provided by Sudhakar Rajulu, Ph.D., and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Experiment Details

OpNom: Body Measures

Principal Investigator(s)
Sudhakar Rajulu, Ph.D., Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX, United States

Karen Young, Leidos, ABF, Houston, TX, United States
Han Kim, Ph.D., Leidos, Houston, TX, United States
Thomas Dirlich, TomsWay e.K., M√ľnchen, Germany

NASA Johnson Space Center, Human Research Program, Houston, TX, United States

Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Sponsoring Organization
NASA - Human Research Program (NASA-HRP)

Research Benefits
Scientific Discovery, Earth Benefits, Space Exploration

ISS Expedition Duration
September 2013 - March 2016; March 2016 - September 2017

Expeditions Assigned

Previous Missions
Information Pending

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Experiment Description

Research Overview

  • NASA does not have sufficient in-flight anthropometric data gathered to assess the impact of physical body shape and size changes on suit sizing.
  • Microgravity effects on body measurements (lengths, breadths, widths, circumferences, and joint angles of subjects exposed to microgravity in an unsuited condition) is gathered and documented (collection is now complete) so that we can better understand the magnitude and variability of the changes to body measurements.
  • If/how individual neutral body posture (NBP) is influenced by these factors is also determined.


This study is expected to help NASA quantify the impacts of microgravity on anthropometry to ensure optimal crew performance, fit, and comfort. Additional in-flight physical changes due to neutral body postures (NBP) and the effects of spaceflight on NBP during extended exposure to microgravity also need to be quantified. This study, for which data collection is now complete, uses simplistic data collection techniques, digital still and video data, to perform photogrammetric analyses to determine the changes that occur to the body shape, size, and NBP while exposed to a microgravity environment.
Anthropometric measurements are collected from crew participants during one pre-flight data collection session, three to six in-flight data collection points (early, mid, and late mission at a minimum), and one post-flight data collection session. In-flight data collection includes photo and video-based measurements for body lengths and postures, as well as measurement of body segment circumferences using a tape measure. Body mass is also measured using the Russian Body Mass Measurement Device (via data sharing with Space Medicine) or the HRF SLAMMD. Ground-based data collection sessions are performed in the US Lab mockup and the Anthropometry and Biomechanics facility at JSC and include the collection of anthropometric measurements using an anthropometer, tape measure, photographs, and a 3D whole-body laser scanner, as well as a weight measurement. The video portion of the investigation is not performed pre- and post-flight.
Flight hardware requirements for this study necessitate flying a kit with commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware. The kit includes a tape measure, spherical body markers, adhesives for attachment of the body markers, head caps, spandex shorts and top, and blindfolds for NBP.

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Space Applications
Comprehensive body measurements have never been recorded in space before. Scientists anticipate changes in crewmembers’ body shapes and sizes due to fluid shifts resulting from microgravity. Long-term changes in crewmembers’ bodies could require new designs for suits, clothing and work stations to maximize health and efficiency during future space missions.

Earth Applications
The investigation could help scientists understand the effects of prolonged bed rest, which produces physiological changes similar to those experienced in microgravity. Results could also improve the Neutral Body Posture template, based on the normal curvature of the spine, which is used in a wide range of design standards for ergonomic equipment and medical care.

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Operational Requirements and Protocols

  • Data was collected from a total of nine subjects: seven male and two female.
  • Three nominal sessions are performed at FD15, FD80, and R-15 (early, mid, and late during the mission). Three additional reserve sessions are performed, at FD45, FD105, and FD135, if crew time allows. Scheduling tolerance for the FD15 session is ±5 days, for FD45, 80, 105, and 135 it is ±7 days, and R-15 is ±15 days.
  • During in-flight data collection sessions, circumference measurements and photographic and video imagery are collected during each session. The subject begins the session by setting up the two cameras. Once the cameras are set up, the operator places the body markers on the subject. The subject then stands in front of a specified ISS rack in the US Lab module to collect photographic imagery in three postures: a front facing posture (front), side with right arm extended 45° (side 1), and side with right arm abducted 90° (side 2). The operator takes two sets of pictures per posture. After the still photographs are collected, the operator collects each circumference measurement twice using the provided tape measure, and the measurements are recorded in the Data Collection Tool (DCT). The operator then takes the body markers off of the subject and adjusts the cameras to collect video of the subject performing Neutral Body Posture (NBP) while floating. NBP consists of performing three phases: an effort phase, a relaxed phase, and a neutral phase. The effort phase consists of the subject maintaining a starting posture, such as a stretched or crouched posture. The effort phase is then followed by the relaxed phase in which the subject relaxes and transitions between the effort posture and a neutral body posture. This NBP sequence is repeated 10 times per session, altering and randomizing the effort phase posture each time in the session. Once the collection of NBP videos is complete, the subject disassembles the camera set-up and stows the equipment for the next data collection session. The subject then completes data transfer to the ground of the photographs, video, and measurements. Subject body mass is also measured using the Russian Body Mass Measurement Device (via data sharing with Space Medicine) or the HRF SLAMMD within 30 days of the other body measurements.
  • Real time video downlink is required for verification of camera placement and subject positioning.
  • Measurement recordings, photos and videos are downlinked after each session.
  • Photographs and video are taken in front of an EXPRESS rack with space available for movement through the different required body positions.
  • Body mass measurements are also required at FD15, FD80, and R-15 (all +/- 30 days). All measurements for a given subject must be performed using the same device. This data is nominally obtained via data sharing from Space Medicine (using the Russian Body Mass Measurement Device); however, use of SLAMMD is required for all three sessions if any of the three are not available from Space Medicine’s use of the Russian Body Mass Measurement Device.

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Decadal Survey Recommendations

Translation to Space Exploration Systems TSES3

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Results/More Information

Information Pending

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Related Websites

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This image contains the subject outfitted with body markers and positioned in each of the three poses that will be used for photographic measurements:  a front facing posture (left), side with right arm extended 45° (middle), and side with right arm abducted 90° (right). Image courtesy of HRP.

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