CARD experiment: study of cardiac output and arterial blood pressure in microgravity

Date: On going
Research domain: Physiology


The purpose of the CARD experiment is to test the hypothesis that prolonged exposure to microgravity leads to increased cardiac output and reduced arterial blood pressure.

The experimental protocol also investigates the way in which the sympathetic nervous system affects these two parameters.
The experiment is sponsored and financed by the European Space Agency (ESA).
The scientists who instigated this project are European:

  • Professor Peter Norsk, Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Denmark Website:
  • Professor Niels Juel Christensen, Department of Internal Medicine and Endocrinology, Herlev University Hospital, Denmark



An experimental session with CARD covers 24 hours and includes:

  • 20 automatic readings of arterial blood pressure over a period of 24 hours (every hour by day, every two hours by night)
  • 5 readings of cardiac output, over the 24h
  • 24h of urine collection
  • 2 blood samples

To allow comparison between on-ground and in-flight readings, subjects must undergo one session before departure for the ISS, one session during the flight (after at least 2 months of flight) and a further session after their return to Earth (at least 2 months later).


Aboard the ISS, CARD activities take place in the European Columbus science module. The Flight Control Team (FCT) in Munich supervises the European activities in direct liaison with the operational support centres responsible for the experiment: DAMEC (Denmark) and CADMOS (Toulouse).


  • In the CARD experiment, subjects simply wear the HLTA holter device (a sub-module of CARDIOLAB) to measure arterial blood pressure, for a normal 24-hour period, while going about their normal routine .
  • Cardiac output is measured by analysing the expired air using the PFS module (Pulmonary Function System, for which DAMEC is responsible).
  • HRF-2 RC (Human Research Facility 2 – Refrigerated Centrifuge, a NASA instrument) is used to centrifuge the blood samples.
  • MELFI (Minus Eighty-degree Laboratory Freezer, a NASA instrument) is used to freeze and preserve blood and urine samples for later analysis on Earth.

Site PFS :
Site HRF-2 RC :


The experiment is ongoing. The data are archived at CADMOS and DAMEC.
DAMEC website:


Further information

Find more information on the projects run by CADMOS on the CNES website: