Artemis 1 Mission
Canadian Space Agency
Credit: CSA/SpaceQ.

The Canada Space Agency Issues Health Related Microgravity Research Activity RFP

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is looking to conduct a Microgravity Research Activity (MRA), a bed rest study, to better understand the health impact of inactivity.

Specifically the CSA objective is “to provide the services and facilities necessary for the execution of a head-down tilt bed rest study.”

The budget available for the contract is $1.75 million. The CSA will host a bidders’ conference by virtual meeting on October 17, 2019. The solicitation closes November 5, 2019.

Study background

The CSA provided the following background information on the study.

The CSA and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), with the Institute partners the Institute of Aging (IA), Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health (ICRH), and the CIHR Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis (IMHA), in collaboration with the Canadian Frailty Network (CFN) are supporting an inactivity study using a bed rest paradigm that will provide new knowledge on the process of aging, the impact of inactivity on health and that will allow testing of a physical exercise countermeasure intervention. The bed rest paradigm is relevant to the CSA because it offers the best ground analogue of the physiological effects of weightlessness.

The CSA has the responsibility to contract the experimental facility for the study, including the recruitment of participants, the medical supervision of the participants, and the acquisition of the standard measures during the study. CIHR and the Frailty Network are responsible for providing research support funds for eight scientific teams that will provide in-depth analysis of the effects of the bed-rest countermeasure prescribed to the participants.

Bed rest studies, in which healthy volunteers are confined to bed in a 6° head-down tilt position, are a well-established model for some of the adaptations experienced by astronauts during spaceflight. Further, the results obtained in these studies have obvious relevance and applications in terrestrial clinical contexts, which make them even more useful. Many space agencies (Institute for Space Medicine and Physiology-Medes, the German Institute of Aerospace Medicine-Envihab, Planica bed rest facility, Slovenia) and in some cases even individual investigator teams around the world are involved in organizing bed rest studies.

Few Head Down Tilt Bed Rest (HDTBR) studies have been conducted on subjects between 55 and 65 years old, and the present campaign will examine the effects of a 6 degrees head down bed rest on healthy volunteers in order to test an exercise countermeasure that aims to efficiently alleviate the symptoms of skeletal unloading in astronauts and in the sedentary population on Earth.


About Marc Boucher

Boucher is an entrepreneur, writer, editor & publisher. He is the founder of SpaceQ Media Inc. and CEO and co-founder of SpaceRef Interactive LLC. Boucher has 20+ years working in various roles in the space industry and a total of 30 years as a technology entrepreneur including creating Maple Square, Canada's first internet directory and search engine.

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