In case your department doesn’t have the funds to get you a new ultrasound machine on a regular basis, don’t despair. The ultrasound machine on the International Space Station has just been swapped out with a newer model, after a ten-year stint in space. The story was reported in this week’s issue of AIUM’s newsletter:
Obituaries are sad, but a good one makes us remember the deceased with respect and admiration. This is as true for a person as it is for the ultrasound machine on the International Space Station (ISS), which survived for 10 years without requiring service. The Philips HD15000 was brought home to rest on shuttle flight STS-135. Without the STS-135, the ultrasound system would have been sent to burn up in the atmosphere in a discarded supply vessel.
David Martin, BS, RDMS, RDCS, RVT, who is NASA’s lead sonographer, spent many hours talking astronauts through ultrasound studies on the historic machine, often during stressful situations and with challenging protocols. These sessions usually took place during the very early morning hours to accommodate the Greenwich Mean Time schedule of the ISS.
But just because the Philips machine has been laid to rest doesn’t mean that ultrasound studies on the ISS are finished. A new system, a GE Vivid Q, arrived on the ISS with the last shuttle flight. We hope that it will continue to provide invaluable information for the next decade and beyond.