Carlsbad, CA, USA — Heidelberg Engineering was honoured today by visitors from NASA. The guests from NASA: Dr. Christian Otto, Lead Scientist for the Vision Impairment and Intracranial Pressure (VIIP) project; Dr. Steven Hart, lead flight surgeon for VIIP; Rachel Brady, VIIP Science Coordinator; and Jennifer Villarreal, Project Manager came for a ceremony to present Heidelberg Engineering with the NASA Certificate of Appreciation in recognition of Heidelberg Engineering’s support in placing a SPECTRALIS® OCT system on the International Space Station (ISS).
During the ceremony, the NASA guests described the physiological challenges encountered with long duration space flight and the research underway to understand and ultimately address these issues. A big part of this research is evaluating changes in ocular structures with the Heidelberg Engineering SPECTRALIS system.
The SPECTRALIS, installed on the ISS in June, 2013, is the same SPECTRALIS technology available to eye care practitioners for terrestrial use. Since initiation of this program, ISS astronauts have been receiving baseline SPECTRALIS exams before flight and routine SPECTRALIS exams throughout their space station deployments.
Originally, NASA anticipated the process of qualifying and placing the SPECTRALIS in space would take approximately two years. Instead, due to the efforts of the Heidelberg Engineering team, the system was delivered to the ISS within four months. In recognition of this effort, Heidelberg Engineering was presented with two plaques signed by Dr. Jeffrey Davis, Chief Medical Officer of NASA’s Johnson Space Center, and astronaut Luca Parmitano, who was among the first crew members to operate the SPECTRALIS OCT during flight.