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Lyster Award: Anil Menon

September 03, 2021

Lyster Award: Anil Menon

This award was established to honor the memory of Brig. Gen. Theodore C. Lyster, the first Chief Surgeon, Aviation Section, United States Signal Corps. It is given annually for outstanding achievement in the general field of aerospace medicine. Sponsored by the Army Aviation Medical Association.

Anil S. Menon, M.D., M.P.H., M.S., received the 2021 Theodore C. Lyster Award for his role in re-establishing human spaceflight originating from the United States as the single physician leading the SpaceX Commercial Crew team. He was instrumental in developing environmental control, medical systems, suits/seats/restraints, crew integration, landing/recovery, and medical selection for non-NASA passengers. He led the efforts at SpaceX to integrate with NASA medical operations through launch, on-orbit operations, and landing/recovery of successful commercial crew missions. He has also worked on the lunar/Mars programs, free flyers, and other commercial spaceflight issues.
   LtCol. (Dr.) Anil Menon is currently the physician and medical director at SpaceX. He is residency trained and board certified in Emergency Medicine and Aerospace Medicine. Previously he worked at NASA as a flight surgeon, where he supported the International Space Station and traveled to Russia to support launch and landing. In recent years, he has lived at the Gagarin Training Center near Moscow for 6 months. He travelled to Baikanour, Kazakhstan, four times for launches and landings. At SpaceX, he has been working to develop the medical system of the future to enable us to travel to Mars in good health. He has also worked to develop a medical student training program, support the education of residents, and develop a medical organization.
   In the military, LtCol. (Dr.) Menon is a flight surgeon in the 45th Space Wing and is a member of the Critical Care Air Transport Team (CCATT). He has deployed three times with CCATT, transporting critically wounded soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan to Germany. After his most recent CCATT deployment in April 2015, he and his wife flew to Bagdogra, India, to provide race support for an ultramarathon called Windchasers. Ten minutes after arriving at Bagdogra airport, they felt tremors from a 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal. Menon and Anna made the decision to give up race support and venture to Kathmandu. After 24 hours of driving, they reached the outskirts of Kathmandu, found housing, and identified themselves to a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) providing relief to disaster victims. Menon organized the early medical response amongst other volunteers, and Anna worked on waste and sanitation.
   Dr. Menon is no stranger to medical humanitarian missions. He was also provided medical care at the Reno Air Race Disaster and in the Haitian 2010 earthquake, providing desperately needed medical care to earthquake survivors in austere conditions. He continues to work on translating those clinical skills into space medicine.