Volker Damann M.D.
Human Performance in Space
Born in 1959 in Schweinfurt, Germany, he started medical school in Marburg, Germany in 1979. After graduation from medical school in 1985, he worked in the University-Radiology department and specialized in nuclear medicine. In 1988, together with two colleagues, he established a private radiology practice, offering imaging services in the domains of conventional radiology, CAT, and nuclear medicine.
Since 1989 he served for 6 years as a space flight surgeon at the German Aerospace Research Center (DLR). During that time, he supported 8 Shuttle and 2 Soyuz/MIR missions in the function of a crew surgeon.
In 1995 he became the Lead Flight Surgeon and in 1998 the Head of the Space Medicine Office at the European Astronaut Center (EAC) of the European Space Agency (ESA) in Cologne, Germany.
In 1996 he became a member of the Aerospace Medical Association (AsMA), the Space Medicine Association, and the Society of NASA Flight Surgeons and served the Space Medicine Branch/Association as member at large in the early 2000th and as its president in the term 2011-2012. He is an AsMA Fellow since 2014 and member of the AsMA Executive Committee and Council. He was the recipient of the Won Chuel Kay Award in 2012. Under his leadership ESA has been presenting in the last years a dedicated panel about European operational and scientific elements of space medicine at the annual AsMA conference.
Building on the acquired operational expertise, a growing team of physicians and biomedical engineers was established and an ESA medical control center in Cologne was implemented. A new unit within the medical office was created that is specifically tasked to look into new ways to bridge the gap between life sciences research and operational space medicine with the goal to improve on-orbit clinical space medicine for future space programs. In close cooperation with King’s college, London, UK, a new Master program “Space Physiology and Health” was developed and enrolled the first students in the term 2010/2011. This program allows providing specialty education for the next generation of space health care providers.
The implementation of new medical technologies, utilization of innovative communication means and application-oriented operational research defines major elements of the European approach to space medicine.
Under his leadership the psychological and medical tests and examinations of a major ESA astronaut selection campaign were conducted in 2008/2009.
Strengthening the role and responsibility of a small Partner within the ISS medical program, while maintaining the cultural identity, was one of his highest priorities. He is convinced that only a strong international partnership will enable mankind to continue space exploration and to expand human knowledge in space medicine.