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AFRL, 59th Medical Wing launch space medical research group

  • Published
  • By Whitney Wetsig
  • Air Force Research Laboratory

A newly established collaboration between the 711th Human Performance Wing’s Human Effectiveness Directorate, the Air Force Research Laboratory and the 59th Medical Wing is creating a military research working group to address defense space-linked medical research gaps. The Clinical and Operational Space Medicine Innovation Consortium, or COSMIC, will serve as a platform to fuse human health and performance research capabilities and expertise across both organizations.

“The goal here is to spearhead defense space-linked medical research,” said retired Brig. Gen. (Dr.) James McEachen, a 711 HPW senior aerospace medicine physician-researcher and COSMIC steering committee co-chair. “This is a win for all involved. COSMIC provides an important venue to respond to emerging space-linked medical research requirements while simultaneously promoting collaboration and innovation among our government, academic and industry partners.”

With COSMIC, the 711 HPW is partnering with the 59th Medical Wing, the U.S. Air Force's largest medical wing comprising six medical groups across San Antonio, Texas.

“COSMIC represents a significant milestone in our collective efforts to establish defense space medical research capabilities,” said Maj. (Dr.) Craig Nowadly, an emergency physician and 59th MDW COSMIC steering committee co-chair. “By combining the strengths of both organizations, COSMIC has access to research expertise across a continuum of both clinical medicine and human performance optimization.” 

McEachen said COSMIC will deliver tremendous value and knowledge to the military. 

“It is important for the DOD to understand how human health and performance are impacted during military space operations and to develop capabilities to sustain human performance and mitigate health risks,” McEachen said. “By establishing this collaborative research working group, COSMIC aims to spearhead more efficient and effective processes for addressing top priority clinical care and human performance research needs for DOD space medicine.”

About AFRL

The Air Force Research Laboratory, or AFRL, is the primary scientific research and development center for the Department of the Air Force. AFRL plays an integral role in leading the discovery, development and integration of affordable warfighting technologies for our air, space and cyberspace force. With a workforce of more than 12,500 across nine technology areas and 40 other operations across the globe, AFRL provides a diverse portfolio of science and technology ranging from fundamental to advanced research and technology development. For more information, visit