August 13, 2008–REDMOND, WA–The International Space Station (ISS) is now equipped with the first automated external defibrillator (AED) in space. The AED will be available for NASA crew members should someone experience sudden cardiac arrest in space.
The ISS has utilized manual defibrillators in the past, but NASA decided to now deploy an AED because it requires less training and maintenance, better enabling astronauts to respond to a medical emergency. The small size and light weight of the device also help minimize hardware mass and volume onboard the Space Station.
NASA's Medical Operations personnel evaluated the use of the AED in zero gravity conditions aboard a NASA DC-9 test aircraft as part of developing their advanced life support use protocols.