Physical and Bioenvironmental Aspects of Human Space Flight

  • Michael R. Barratt

Aviation medicine, diving medicine, and space medicine all involve pressure excursions, operational changes in body attitude and position, controlled breathing sources, and critical dependence on supportive mechanisms and protective equipment. Many of the basic problems of space medicine—hypoxia, dysbarism, thermal support, moderate levels of acceleration, response to unusual altitudes—had been studied over the course of decades of aviation and high-altitude balloon flight and were fairly well understood before the first human space flight ever took place. A basic working knowledge of aviation medicine and physiology remains required of the space medicine specialist. A review of these basics or of atmospheric science is beyond the scope of this chapter; the interested reader is referred to the sources in the Suggested Readings section at the end of this chapter.

This book focuses on the unique medical circumstances and clinical problems associated with excursions outside of Earth’s atmosphere. These circumstances include a wide range of acceleration forces, adaptive processes and problems associated with weightlessness and partial gravity fields, radiation, excursions to other planetary bodies, and biotechnical problems associated with life support systems in enclosed environments. This chapter provides an overview of the basic physics of space flight and physical conditions faced by human space travelers that influence their physiologic responses and adaptation.


Solar Wind Space Flight Linear Acceleration Space Shuttle Lunar Regolith 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael R. Barratt
    • 1
  1. 1.NASA Johnson Space CenterHoustonUSA

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