Pulmonary Function System (PFS) - 11.29.17

Summary | Overview | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery

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The Pulmonary Function System (PFS) is a collaborative effort between the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the European Space Agency (ESA) to develop a system for pulmonary physiology monitoring on the International Space Station (ISS). The system was completed with the addition of Human Research Facility - 2 (HRF-2) during Expedition 11. The components include the Pulmonary Function Module (PFM), Photoacoustic Analyzer Module (PAM), and Gas Delivery System (GDS).
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The following content was provided by Suzanne McCollum, and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Facility Details

OpNom: PFS

Facility Manager(s)
Suzanne McCollum, Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX, United States

Facility Representative(s)
Information Pending

Danish Aerospace Company, Copenhagen, Denmark
NASA Johnson Space Center, Human Research Program, Houston, TX, United States

Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Sponsoring Organization
Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD)

ISS Expedition Duration
April 2005 - March 2014; March 2015 - September 2015

Expeditions Assigned

Previous Missions
Information Pending

Information Pending

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Facility Description

Facility Overview

The Pulmonary Function System (PFS) is the result of collaboration between the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the European Space Agency (ESA) on the development of pulmonary physiology instrumentation. The system currently includes three major components, which make it possible for the system to take a variety of respiratory and cardiovascular measurements. 
The three components which form the PFS are as follows:
The Photoacoustic Analyzer Module (PAM), developed by ESA, determines the concentration of seven respired gas components that also may contain significant concentrations of nitrogen and water vapor utilizing a combination of an oxygen analyzer and two photoacoustic analyzers, each capable of measuring three separate gasses.
The Pulmonary Function Module (PFM), developed by ESA, when operated together with the PAM plus the GDS forms a respiratory facility capable of a wide range of respiratory and cardiovascular measurements including breath-by-breath measurements, diffusing capacity of the lung, expiratory reserve volume, forced expired spirometry, functional residual capacity, cardiac output, alveolar ventilation, volume of pulmonary capillary blood, and numerous other specialized tests of pulmonary function. It consists of multiple hardware accessories for rebreathing and mixing bag operations and an electronics unit which are accommodated in an 8 panel unit (PU) drawer.  The PFM allows additional inputs for turbine and differential pressure flowmeters, a respiratory inductive plethysmograph (RIP), and a Continuous Blood Pressure Device (CBPD).  It also provides digital and analog input/output (I/O) and serial data connectors for compatible external hardware systems.
The Gas Delivery System (GDS), developed by NASA, provides special gas mixtures needed for the calibration of the PAM and for the performance of such physiological tests as re-breathing and washout measurements. The GDS supports five canisters of gas mixtures (1.3 L at up to 2400 psig each) which are permanently present on-orbit and supports re-supply of these gases. The gas mixtures are supplied at an outlet pressure in the range 3 - 4 bar. It is accommodated in a four PU drawer.
Prior to Increment 23/24, the PFS included a fourth component: the Gas Analyzer System for Metabolic Analysis Physiology (GASMAP).  The GASMAP was developed by NASA to utilize a Random Access Mass Spectrometer (RAMS) to determine the concentration of up to 20 gas components of the respired gas mixtures. The GASMAP could control and acquire the data from external equipment, such as blood pressure instrumentation, an ECG system, a respiratory flow-meter, exercise ergometer/treadmill, etc. The system was first utilized for the PuFF experiment following its launch in Increment 2 and later became one of the original components of the expanded Pulmonary Function System with the launch of the HRF PFM/PAM and GDS in Expedition 11.  The GASMAP was returned to Earth during Expedition 23 on STS-131 (Flight 19A).
In Expedition 13, the PFS system was expanded with the capability to measure aerobic capacity (VO2) through introduction of a 15 liter mixing bag/valving system.
The PFS has been used to support multiple pulmonary and cardiovascular investigations since its arrival on station including NASA’s PFE-OUM experiment, ESA’s Card and Energy experiments, CSA’s BP-Reg experiment, and ASI's Drain Brain experiment.
The PFS system is currently located in HRF Rack 2 in the Columbus module, which is co-located with the European Physiology Model (EPM) to allow for further collaborative medical investigations supported by both NASA and ESA.

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Facility Operations

  • The PFS can be utilized in a variety of different capacities depending on what is being measured.

  • When operating the PFS crewmembers will follow the designated procedures.

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Decadal Survey Recommendations

Information Pending

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Results/More Information

Results Publications

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Ground Based Results Publications

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ISS Patents

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Related Publications

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Related Websites

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image NASA Image: ISS015E34422 - View of Human Research Facility - 2 (HRF-2), with the Pulmonary Function System components installed, in the U.S. Laboratory, Destiny, taken during Expedition 15.
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image NASA Image: ISS013E56857 - European Space Agency (ESA) Astronaut, Thomas Reiter checking the Pulmonary Function System (PFS) Upgrade hardware while acquiring Oxygen Uptake Measurements (OUM) during a Periodic Fitness Evaluation (PFE) with Expedition 13 Flight Engineer-1 (FE-1)and NASA Space Station Science Officer, Jeffrey Williams.
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NASA Image: ISS033E010004 - Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Aki Hoshide, Expedition 33 flight engineer, conducts an Oxygen Uptake Measurement (OUM) for the ESA experiment ENERGY in the Columbus laboratory of the International Space Station.

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NASA Image: ISS035-E-022360 (17 April 2013) --- In support of the Blood Pressure Regulation Experiment (BP Reg), Expedition 35 Commander Chris Hadfield of the Canadian Space Agency is pictured after having set up the Human Research Facility (HRF) PFS (Pulmonary Function System) and the European Physiology Module (EPM) Cardiolab (CDL) Leg/Arm Cuff System (LACS) and conducting the first ever session of this experiment. The test, which will be repeated using other crew members as well, will help to identify the astronauts who could benefit from countermeasures before returning to Earth. Thus, this method has great potential for astronaut health monitoring during future long-term space flights and it also has important implications for testing of individuals on Earth, especially the elderly, who are at risk for fainting. The research will also allow demonstrating the feasibility of obtaining a set of indicators of overall cardiovascular regulation from the non-invasive measurement of continuous blood pressure.

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