Human Factors and Space Medicine


The Human Factors and Space Medicine short course introduces the role of medicine in manned space missions. The course provides an overview of major issues in human factors and space medicine as they relate to manned space flight. Participants will broaden their understanding of how human factors and space medicine relate to the various relevant engineering fields. No medical background is needed; this course is designed for engineers and technical professionals.

What You Will Learn:

Human Factors and Space Medicine offers an engineering-based approach to the very popular and useful Medical School for Lawyers courses that are offered to practicing lawyers. This course assumes that participants have a very basic familiarity with physics and are able to use this knowledge to help explain the relevant physiological principles.

Day 1 – Networking dinner with fellow students
Day 2 – Full day of instruction from 8:00am to 5:00pm
Day 3 – Half day instruction ending at 1:00pm

Specific topics to be explored:

  • An overview of normal pulmonary and cardiac physiology is presented as it relates to respiration at sea level, various altitudes, and in space. The interactions of atmospheric composition, ambient pressure, natural and assisted respiration is explained and related to aircraft/spacecraft life support systems.
  • The effects of prolonged acceleration in various directions on the human body are related to the physiological processes presented above. Various strategies to improve these effects are reviewed and the response of the human body to impact accelerations is discussed.
  • Microgravity and the associated biomedical issues are covered within the course along with possible methods of lessening the effects. Recovery from microgravity exposure is also considered.
  • The space radiation environment and its effects on biological systems is presented along with some basic background on exposure, dose-response relationships, mitigation, and current US regulations regarding exposure limits to radiation workers, astronauts, and the general population. The way in which potential space flight participants fit into these limitations is also discussed.
  • The human factors associated with long term spaceflight, as in crewed flight to Mars, colonization of the Moon, etc. is outlined in terms of issues related to life support system, individual health, genetic damage, and similar areas.
  • Current FAA-AST rules for human space flight participation are considered in terms of informed consent and safety considerations. These rules are also put into the broad context of the current regulatory environment.
  • Finally, the commercial implications of the various issues discussed during the course are explored.
What you will gain:
  • Broadened background of working aerospace engineers in terms of physiological and life support issues for crewed space flight.
  • Participants learn about the critical issues related to crewed space flight.
  • Participants gain ability to differentiate reality from “wishful thinking” associated with human space exploration.
  • Learn concepts in human factors/space medicine field to assist in working on interdisciplinary projects involving the subjects.
  • Engineering and biomedical professionals approach problems and solutions differently. Participants gain some insight into these differences and how to accommodate them.
Who should attend:
  • Aerospace engineers and those in related fields desiring a broad-based background on how human factors enter into design, planning, and support issues related to aerospace vehicles
  • Managerial personnel wanting to learn about the critical issues and to foster their functioning as professionals in interdisciplinary projects
  • Systems engineers looking for an overview of human factors and space medicine
  • Technical personnel wanting to broaden their understanding of how human factors relate to the various relevant engineering fields or looking to learn about the subject to facilitate working in an interdisciplinary environment
Instructor Bio

Dr. John M. Jurist is a biophysicist with major interests including biomechanics, biomedical issues related to human space flight, and space flight technology. He earned his undergraduate degree in physics at UCLA. He then earned graduate degrees in biophysics and nuclear medicine while he was at the UCLA School of Medicine, and had additional postdoctoral training in radiology and medical physics at the University of Wisconsin (Madison) School of Medicine before accepting a full time faculty appointment.

Dr. Jurist held faculty positions at the University of Wisconsin in the Division of Orthopedic Surgery (School of Medicine) and in the Space Science and Engineering Center. He was also the Associate Director of the Biomedical Engineering Center at that institution. Past adjunct (part time) professorships have been in physics, engineering, and medical sciences within the Montana State University system. He has consulted broadly for various corporations and governmental agencies.

Dr. Jurist is a Life Member of the Aerospace Medical Association, a Life Member of the International Association of Military Flight Surgeon Pilots, a Fellow of the Clinical Medicine Section of the Gerontological Society, and an Emeritus member of the Orthopedic Research Society, among other professional organizations. He is presently Adjunct Professor of Space Studies in the Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences, University of North Dakota.

Continuing Education Units

CEUs: 1.2 (CEUs provided by request only)

USC Viterbi School of Engineering Certificate of Participation is awarded to all participants upon successful completion of course.

Why Consider a Custom Course for Your Organization?

Custom courses provide the opportunity to create an educational program that meets the specific needs of your organization. The following are a few reasons why our clients have chosen USC Viterbi School of Engineering as their program provider:

  • Interest in connecting with USC experts for real organizational issues
  • Engineering training and executive education opportunities in a condensed period of time
  • Educational opportunities at multiple company sites through on-site training and/or distance offerings to several sites simultaneously
  • Preference for providing Continuing Education Units (CEUs) rather than degree-oriented academic units
  • Overall flexibility in timing, delivery and pricing

If you are interested in learning more, please contact us by email or at 213-740-4488

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