Our Heritage

Pioneering spirit with a history of innovation

Since 1958, Spacelabs has continually redefined the boundaries of what’s possible in healthcare technology. From monitoring Ed White’s historic Gemini IV spacewalk and Neil Armstrong’s first step on the moon, to watching over millions of patients around the world today, Spacelabs’ pioneering innovations in real-time telemetry enable health monitoring and diagnostics for people and patients across the care continuum.

Spacelabs Healthcare, a subsidiary of OSI Systems, Inc., began in 1958 as co-founders Ben L. Ettelson and James A. Reeves began working with the U.S. Air Force and NASA. Spacelabs went on to become a prime contractor to NASA for the historic Gemini and Apollo missions. The Gemini Program required real-time, remote physiological monitoring of orbiting astronauts from Earth. Spacelabs’ innovation in medical telemetry helped make history as part of the Gemini IV flight as astronaut Edward H. White II became the first American to walk in space in June 1965.

In 1966, Spacelabs introduced its ground-breaking medical technology to civilian healthcare facilities. By 1968, Spacelabs had expanded its line of products to offer a range of bedside and multi-patient central station monitors.

NASA’s Apollo Program was dedicated to fulfilling President John F. Kennedy’s challenge to land a man on the moon by the end of the decade. In July 1969, Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon wearing Spacelabs telemetry. NASA honored Spacelabs with a certificate of appreciation for outstanding contributions to the Apollo Program. By the early 1970s, Spacelabs was installing its “Apollo 70 Cardiac Care Monitoring System” at hospitals throughout the United States, with astronauts including Alan Shepard and Edgar Mitchell attending in person to participate in the dedication celebrations on several occasions.

Today, health monitoring is much more than the collection and display of vital signs. Effective health management requires diagnostic fidelity data acquisition from multiple sources, sophisticated analysis through intelligent algorithms, and translation of this data into clinically actionable information. Vital signs can now be collected wherever the patient is — from hospital to clinic to home. Healthcare professionals expect immediate access to this information where and when they need it. Spacelabs is working to connect the entire care continuum with insightful information that empowers clinicians to make better informed decisions and deliver value-based care.

Jim Reeves receives certificate of appreciation from NASA
Spacelabs co-founder Jim Reeves receives NASA’s Certificate of Appreciation from astronaut Thomas Stafford.