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January 21, 1983

Earthbound female `astronauts' aid the men who go aloft

JAMA. 1983;249(3):329. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03330270011007

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They weren't kidding when they called it manned space flight. Only two women, both Russians, have flown in space in the nearly 22 years since the first human launching.

Still, at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Ames Research Center near San Francisco, women have been consistent volunteers for space-related medical studies that can be conducted without flight.

These studies, particularly of the effects of prolonged weightlessness and how this may affect astronauts upon reentering earth's gravity, have been going on since the 1960s (JAMA [MEDICAL NEWS] 1981;245:1638; 1980;244:754). The last in the current series will be conducted in the fall of 1983 with eight women volunteers.

The most recent study was completed last November. Eight women aged 30 to 45 years were tested in a simulated weightless environment that involved lying seven straight days in bed with their heads lowered 6°

They below their feet.

Such a position