Review of NASA's Space Flight Health Standards. Letter Report


At the request of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Institute of Medicine (IOM) established a committee and issued the report Review of NASA's Space Flight Health Standards-Setting Process: Letter Report.  The committee was charged with examining the process by which NASA establishes space flight health standards for human performance.  It  assured the transparency of the current process, as well as considering its validity and integrity, particularly related to ensuring worker safety and integrating stakeholder input.          

The committee came to the following conclusions:   

  • The initial standards-setting process developed by NASA is carefully-designed, evidence-based and involves input from relevant stakeholders ; 
  • The process follows an occupational health model as recommended in several prior IOM reports; and,
  • It provides an analytical framework for enhancing the safety of human space flight.

The committee recommended the following enhancements to the process: 

  • Expanding the opportunity for input and review;
  • Strengthening the evidence review;
  • Increasing research and validation efforts;
  • Enhancing the updates, appeals, and the development of new standards;  and,
  • Using an integrated systems approach.