European Physiology Module (EPM) - 10.04.17

Summary | Overview | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
European Physiology Module (EPM) is designed to investigate the effects of short- and long-duration space flight on the human body. It includes equipment for neuroscientific, cardiovascular, and physiological studies.
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

The following content was provided by Rosario Nasca, and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Facility Details

OpNom: EPM

Facility Manager(s)
Rosario Nasca, European Space Research and Technology Research Centre, Noordwijk, Netherlands

Facility Representative(s)
Information Pending

OHM Systems, Bremen, Germany

Sponsoring Space Agency
European Space Agency (ESA)

Sponsoring Organization
Information Pending

ISS Expedition Duration
October 2007 - March 2010; September 2011 - March 2016; March 2016 - April 2017; -

Expeditions Assigned

Previous Missions
Information Pending


  • Onboard
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    Facility Description

    Facility Overview

    • The European Physiology Module (EPM) enables a better understanding of the effects of space flight on the human body. Research typically includes neuroscientific, cardiovascular, and physiological studies and investigations of metabolic processes.

    • The EPM performs physiological and biomedical tests and transmits the data to Earth for further analysis. The resulting data will provide insight into the human body's processes in a microgravity environment.

    • The EPM provides equipment for the study of the human body, including three science modules: two active modules, CARDIOLAB and MEEMM, and one module (sample collection kit, or SCK) that includes equipment to enable collection of biological samples (blood, urine, and saliva).
    The facility will consist of separate modules in which investigators can install their hardware for study of the human body on the International Space Station (ISS). The Cardiolab (CDL) and the Multi Electrodes Encephalogram Measurement Module (MEEMM) will be initially launched with the EPM facility.

    The European Physiology Module is a double-rack multi-user facility that supports investigations of respiratory and cardiovascular conditions, hormonal and body fluid shift, bone demineralization and neuroscience. The facility is based on a modular design concept to support diverse experiments. Human physiology experiments are aimed primarily at increasing our knowledge of how the human body reacts to long-duration weightlessness. However, this area of research also contributes to an increased understanding of terrestrial problems such as the aging process, osteoporosis, balance disorders, and muscle wasting. Typical research areas include:
    • Neuroscience - Neurovestibular control of posture, balance, and motion sensory coordination

    • Cardiovascular and Respiratory Systems - Control of blood volume and distribution; fluid volume shift
      Bone and Muscle Physiology - Muscle deconditioning/atrophy
      Endocrinology, Nutrition and Metabolism - Hormonal regulation; demineralization
    To correctly evaluate the on-board data, it is essential that reference (or baseline) data are collected prior to flight and following the return of the crewmembers to Earth. For this reason, the EPM facility will provide a Baseline Data Collection Model (BDCM) system that includes functional copies of the on-board instruments. The BDCM will be readily transportable to ensure availability of the equipment for the preflight, launch and postflight activities. The European Physiology Module can run up to three active human body experiments simultaneously. The experiment modules have individual temperature controls that are set per investigator specifications.

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    Facility Operations

    • The European Physiology Module (EPM) was installed inside the Columbus module prior to being launched to the International Space Station on the space shuttle.

    • The EPM containers were filled with experiments to study the human body.

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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 Testing of one of the experiment modules for European Physiology Module (EPM). Image provided by O. Amend.
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    image NASA Image: ISS016E031846 - European Physiology Module (EPM) installed in the Columbus laboratory. Image taken during Expedition 16.
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    image NASA Image: ISS018E032095: The photo shows Human Research Facility (HRF) rack 2; the European Physiology Module (EPM) is visible. Three-dimensional modeling of International Space Station Interior and Exterior project. Taken for PhotoSynth
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    NASA Image: ISS035E022357 - 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) Pulmonary Function System (PFS) 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 is repeated using other crew members as well, helps 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 spaceflights and it also has important implications for testing of individuals on Earth, especially the elderly, who are at risk for fainting. The research also allows 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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