Project Apollo proved that man could cross ??? quarter million miles of space and land?
Project Apollo proved that man could cross ??? quarter million miles of space and land on another celestrial body, but the Skylab space station proved that man can adapt to long-duration space flights with no adverse effects upon his physiological systems.
Skylab's contribution to medical knowledge of how well man can perform useful work in space will be covered in 38 papers to be presented in a three-day Skylab Life Sciences Symposium August 27-29, 1974 at the NASA Johnson Space Center. The papers will detail the result of medical experiments as described by the principal investigators, and crew performance as related by the Skylab crewmen and by the NASA physicians who monitored crew biomedical responses during the 171 days the space stations was manned.
JSC Director of Life Sciences Richard S. Johnston said, "The performance of the Skylab crewmen, the medical equipment, and the principal investigator team was outstanding and exceeded all expectations. With the completion of the postflight medical evaluations from the last Skylab flight, we feel it is appropriate to summarize and report to the scientific community the biomedical findings resulting from this program."
The symposium will close with a panel discussion on the afternoon of the final day.
For the Skylab missions, a physician was designated as the crew surgeon. He was responsible for the health of the Skylab crewmembers and their families, the development and use of the in-flight medical support system, the preflight medical examination and arrangement of all crew medical-related activities, and the postflight coordination of medical activity on board the recovery ship and at the NASA Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center.
The only Skylab 1/2 preflight problem was gastroenteritis in one crewmember 1 month before flight. During the entire flight, the commander (CDE) had left ???erous otitis. Postflight adjustment was clinically satisfactory, but the pilot (PLT) was presyncopal after completion of the M171 exercise protocol on recovery day, and the scientist pilot experienced significant seasickness on that same day.
The Skylab 3 preflight period was free of medical problems. During flight, all three crewmen experienced motion-sickness-like symptoms for 3 days. A way and two axillary boils developed during flight, but resolve without complication. On recovery day, the PLT developed presyncope in the recovery phase of the M171 exercise protocol, and the CDR was p???yncopal during the stand test. In addition, the CDR aggravated a bank problem sustained previously. After flight, the overall clinical ???usment was more rapid than for the Skylab 1/2 mission.
No acute medical problems occurred before the Skylab 4 flight. The SPT's s soft eardrum was variably injected, but followup through the preflight period allowed flight clearance. During flight, two of the three crewmen experienced motion-sickness-like symptoms for 3 days. Skin dryness and head and nasal fullness were present as in the earlier two missions. A probable fungal infection cleared after 2 weeks of therapy. Sleeping medications were used more throughout the Skylab 4 mission then in the Skylab 1/2 or 3 missions. Food intake and weight were satisfactory, and less weight was lost than on the two previous missions. Exercise was maintained at higher levels than previously; the treadmill was used for the first time. The expertise in handling flight planning problems associated with long-duration missions was significantly developed during the 84-day flight. On recovery day, the CDR experienced presynoope following a forced expiration maneuver. Overall postflight readaptation was clinically very good and was even more rapid than for the two preceding flight crews.