Credit: NASA/Institute of Biomedical Problems


A 5-member international crew is wrapping up 240 days in conditions that simulate the work of a real space expedition on a lunar orbital station and the surface of the Moon.

Called the Scientific International Research In Unique terrestrial Station (SIRIUS), dozens of experiments were carried out related to preparation for further space exploration by humans.

Credit: Institute of Biomedical Problems


SIRIUS-21 has been underway at the Moscow-based Institute of Biomedical Problems (IBMP) of the Russian Academy of Sciences. SIRIUS is supported by the NASA Human Research Program.

The crew (three men and two women) includes Russian, American and Arab participants.

Sirius-21 crew members.
Credit: Institute of Biomedical Problems

Isolation study

On July 3, 2022, the SIRIUS-21 space experiment is to be completed. The mission began November 4, 2021.

This 240-day isolation study included simulating a voyage to the Moon.

During the experiment that mimicked a flight to the Moon, there were a number of problems expeditionary space crews faced, such as:

  • sensory deprivation, monotony, limited social contacts, limited living space and managed habitat
  • factors of autonomous interplanetary flight, including limiting the resources of the expedition and extravehicular activities on the planet’s surface
  • professional activities of the crew (docking of transport ships, landing of the lunar module, control of robotic equipment)
  • communication delay up to 5 minutes one way

An unexpected emergency

The mission began with a crew of six but one person had to exit the study early in the mission for medical reasons, with the remaining five completing the mission this Sunday.

At the time IBMP released a statement as it was a Russian crew member.

“On the Mission Day 33, a real emergency situation took place – one of the crew members, Ekaterina Karyakina, received a minor arm injury during exercise on the working model of a multifunctional weight training machine. Being in close cooperation with the ground support services, the crew provided E. Karyakina with the necessary medical assistance and helped with providing diagnostic measures.”

Given expert medical advice, the management of the SIRIUS Project decided to withdraw Karyakina from the experimental facility. Implementation of the scientific program for the SIRIUS-21 240-day Isolation Experiment continued in full.

Exploration stresses

Credit: Institute of Biomedical Problems

SIRIUS analog missions assist NASA in gaining knowledge about the physiological and psychological “exploration stresses” of remoteness and confinement in humans – all in preparation for sustained Artemis expeditions to the Moon and on-the-horizon flight of crews to Mars.

Credit: Institute of Biomedical Problems

Composition of the crew includes a crew commander, flight engineer, a doctor and researchers.

The activities of the crew during the experiment are based on the basic provisions of the Code of Professional Ethics of Cosmonauts of the Russian Federation and the Code of Conduct for the International Space Station crew.

Leave a Reply