Journal of clinical monitoring and computing vol:18 issue:2 pages:131-6
BACKGROUND: During long experimental set ups, a protocol book usually guides cosmonauts. This is not very easy to work with in microgravity conditions and is not very efficient. For the cardiovascular physiology experiment CARDIOCOG during the Belgian Soyuz Mission (Odissea, November 2002) we developed a software program that guided the cosmonauts through the experiment. The software was developed in LabVIEW, thoroughly tested by CNES and the Russian space authorities and transported to the ISS as a stand-alone application. An adapted version was used during the Spanish Cervantes Mission in October 2003. RESULTS: This program provided several advantages: (1) error procedures could be easily dealt with in using the program's incorporated error structure; (2) the experimental sequences were easy to follow for the cosmonauts; (3) the experimental duration was exactly the same for all repetitions of the experiment, since the program imposed the timing; (4) after the flight, we were able to reconstruct all sequences of the experiment using a log-file that was automatically created during the different steps of the experiment; and (5) we were able to impose exact breathing frequencies to the cosmonauts using a visual aid. CONCLUSION: Less training was necessary for the cosmonauts to learn the experiment. Reconstruction of the experiment timing was easy. Exact breathing frequencies were obtained at each repetition. The program HICOPS worked to the overall satisfaction of the cosmonauts and they preferred working with HICOPS instead of with paper flow sheets. Data for the cardiovascular experiment during both missions were obtained in a standardised way.