Parabolic Flights

The plane:ESA_PF_plane1
The Airbus A300 Zero-G operated by Novespace.



The Team:


Technical description of the experiment:
The objective is to correlate traditional cardiovascular parameters, as obtained with Echocardiography and Impedance-cardiography with the parameters obtained from the recording of 3D Ballistocardiography. Our subjects are equipped with non-invasive wearable cardiac monitoring systems developed with our partners to perform 3D-BCG recordings together with the traditional ECG. We test the Pneumocard-Ballisto system developed by the MKS company ( The subjects alternate between three different protocols: they receive a traditional Echocardiography cardiac function evaluation (determination of timings of heart valves opening and closure, volume of blood ejected during each contraction, and thus beat, of the heart, force of contraction,…); then 3D body accelerations (3D-BCG), ECG, Impedance-cardiography and respiration signals are recorded while subjects are free floating during the microgravity phases of the flight. The subject perform a full rotation around its centre of mass during the zero-g phases. During the rotation of the subject as well as during other sequences of the protocols, stereoscopic pictures are continuously acquired in order to optically determine the localization of the centre of mass (which is the centre of rotation) of the subject.

Applications of the research:
Presently, in the research community, there is a regain of interest for Ballistocardiography which might be very useful for the non-invasive monitoring of elderly patients at home or for the diagnostic of pathologies affecting the cardiovascular system. The main interesting feature of BCG is that it is automatic and not operator dependent, meaning there is no need for a trained cardiologist to acquire the information about the mechanic cardiac function. This research aims at studying Ballistocardiography in microgravity. This will not only help further our understanding of the changes in the cardiovascular system regulations induced by microgravity but also will help demonstrate our new technique developed for the analysis of Ballistocardiography in three dimensions. The goal is, eventually, to lead to new applications for the remote monitoring of the cardiac function and/or to medical diagnostic applications. Ballistocardiography has the potential to provide crucial information on the mechanical cardiac function which no other technique can provide in an ambulatory, operator independent way.

Past parabolic flight (PF) campaigns:
DLR 22,19


ESA_PF61_2014.09.003-079 ESA_PF61_2014.09.003-068
ESA_PF61_2014.09.003-077 ESA_PF61_2014.09.003-358
ESA_PF61_2014-09-003-534 ESA_PF61_2014.09.003-659


ESA_PF59_IMG_0058_small ESA_PF59_IMG_0076_small.jpg
ESA_PF59_IMG_0575_small.jpg ESA_PF59_IMG_0489_small






We thank the DLR team for the organization of the DLR-22 campaign, with the participation of the German astronaut Hans Schlegel.