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A Miniaturized Analyzer Capable of White-Blood-Cell and Differential Analyses During Spaceflight

Brian Crucian PhD, MT(ASCP), Heather Quiriarte BS, Terry Guess BE, Robert Ploutz-Snyder PhD, Kathleen McMonigal MD, Clarence Sams PhD
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1309/LMD3THAYCHICF2XT 304-312 First published online: 1 November 2013


Spaceflight has adverse effects on the human body that pose health risks to astronauts spending extended time in space missions. For clinical monitoring of astronauts and for in-flight biomedical research, laboratory instruments must be available in the spaceflight environment. Currently, no instrument has been shown to be capable of generating a white blood cell (WBC) count and differential during spaceflight to our knowledge, although this is a medical requirement of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). We evaluated a compact hematology analyzer for compatibility with a zero-gravity environment. We performed analyses in reduced-gravity during parabolic flight. Herein, we describe our engineering evaluation and report the reduced-gravity validation data we collected. The hematology analyzer we tested met the basic requirements for use in spaceflight and should be capable of accurately measuring WBC parameters aboard the International Space Station.

  • spaceflight
  • hematology analyzer
  • Abbreviations

    International Space Station;
    white blood cell;
    National Aeronautics and Space Administration;
    charge-coupled device;
    ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid;
    complete blood cell;
    Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments;
    Internal Research and Development
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