Feature | November 22, 2011| Dave Fornell

Echoes From Space

Ultrasound offers most practical imaging system on International Space Station, used for astronaut cardiac evaluations

The modified GE Healthcare Vivid q ultrasound system being used during the mission.

The modified GE Healthcare Vivid q ultrasound system being used during the mission.

When the final space shuttle mission launched July 8, 2011, a cardiovascular ultrasound (echocardiography) system was included in its payload, destined for the International Space Station (ISS). The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) selected GE Healthcare’s Vivid q echo system following a rigorous regimen of spaceflight hardware qualification and acceptance testing. The system, dubbed Ultrasound 2, was modified for spaceflight and had a custom-built external video/power converter assembly added.


On Aug. 23, ISS crewmembers successfully completed the first use of the system in an integrated cardiovascular experiment, which included an exercise echo scanning session. This was the first use of the Ultrasound 2 hardware on-orbit and allowed the experiment to resume ultrasound scanning after an eight-month gap. The data from the experiment is downloaded to the ground, in what is probably the longest-distance telecardiology program so far created.


The Vivid q is designed for cardiovascular imaging and enables assessment of left ventricular function and cardiac performance. The panoramic scan feature is a capability NASA has not had available in space before. NASA plans to use the equipment to replace and upgrade a 10-year-old ultrasound unit that stopped operating earlier this year in its Human Research Facility. The new device will be used for general crew health assessment and in space research investigations such as integrated cardiovascular, which looks at the weakening of heart muscles associated with long-duration spaceflight, and the Integrated Resistance and Aerobic Training Study (Sprint) evaluation of the use of high-intensity, low-volume exercise training to minimize loss of muscle, bone and cardiovascular function in astronauts.


A European Space Agency experiment called vascular echography will use the device to help evaluate changes in central and peripheral blood vessel wall properties (thickness and compliance) and cross-sectional areas of station astronauts during and after long-term exposure to microgravity. Vivid q may also be used in NASA’s New Millennium Observatory Network (NeMO Net) extreme mission operation, providing underwater space simulation. NeMO Net is a near-real-time data communications system that links instruments located in a submarine volcano, one mile underwater and 300 miles offshore from Oregon, to the Internet.

Related Content

Epsilon Imaging, EchoInsight, left ventricle, LV measurement, strain imaging, ASE 2016
News | Cardiovascular Ultrasound| June 17, 2016
Epsilon Imaging Inc. announced a research study was presented at the American Society of Echocardiography (ASE) 2016...
ZOOM+Imaging, on-demand service, X-ray, ultrasound, CT
News | Business| June 15, 2016
ZOOM+ announced the launch of ZOOM+Imaging, a proprietary digital platform for on-demand scheduling, paying and sharing...
hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, HCM, strain echocardiography, risk assessment, ASE 2016
News | Cardiovascular Ultrasound| June 13, 2016
After following a large sub-set of patients, researchers found that by using strain echocardiography they could...
ASE 2016, Mayo Clinic study, echocardiography, aortic flow rate, patient risk stratification
News | Cardiovascular Ultrasound| June 13, 2016
Researchers from Mayo Clinic believe they have found a better way to risk stratify some of their most fragile patients.
ASE 2016, echocardiography, telemedicine, Arkansas, pediatric patients
News | Telecardiology| June 13, 2016
Two new research studies verify that echocardiography, linked to experts through telemedicine, can provide better and...
cardiac ultrasound, ASE, American society of echo
News | Cardiovascular Ultrasound| June 09, 2016
Below is a roundup of recent echo news that highlights technologies and topics that will be featured at the American
TeleHealthRobotics, Tele-Robotic Ultrasound, TRUDI, robotic ultrasound

The Tele-Robotic Ultrasound for Distance Imaging (TRUDI) system uses a robotic arm so a remote sonographer can control the echo probe without the need for them to be in the same room or even be in the hospital during an exam or procedure. 

News | Cardiovascular Ultrasound| June 09, 2016
June 9, 2016 — The American Society of Echocardiography (ASE) will host Echovation Challenge 2016, a competition for
ASE 2016, echocardiography, Seattle
News | Cardiovascular Ultrasound| June 01, 2016
The American Society of Echocardiography (ASE) will host its 27th Annual Scientific Sessions, June 10-14, 2016, at the...
Technology | Cardiac Imaging| May 18, 2016
May 18, 2016 — The Intersocietal Accreditation Commission (IAC) recently announced its launch of the IAC QI Self-Asse
Siemens, Acuson S3000 ultrasound system, HELX Evolution with Touch Control, usability study, Macadamian Technologies
News | Ultrasound Imaging| May 17, 2016
Macadamian Technologies, a user experience research, design and software development firm, recently announced the...
Overlay Init