Skip to page content Mission Information


Validation of Predictive Tests and Countermeasures for Space Motion Sickness (DSO 401)
Principal Investigator
Research Area:
Clinical medicine
Species Studied
Scientific Name: Homo sapiens Species: Human

Experience from pre-Shuttle era flights indicated that the space sickness syndrome represented a potential threat to the operational efficacy and physical well-being of future crews. Some of the Mercury and Gemini flight crews reported SMS, while 33% of the Apollo crew and 54% of the Skylab crew experienced symptoms. Reports from the USSR indicated that about 40% of Soviet cosmonauts had experienced SMS. These data suggested that if no corrective actions were taken, up to 40% of Shuttle crews could experience some degree of SMS during the first few days of flight.

Predominant symptoms of the syndrome are headache, depressed appetite, general malaise, lethargy, gastrointestinal discomfort, nausea, and vomiting. As in other forms of motion sickness, the syndrome may reduce self motivation and result in decreased ability to perform demanding tasks. The syndrome is self-limiting. Complete recovery from major symptomatology, or, in other words, adaptation to the space flight environment, occurs within two to four days. After complete adaptation occurs, crewmembers appear to be immune to the development of further symptomatology.

Because of the complexity and uniqueness of this biomedical problem, the researchers considered it essential that data be collected systematically on individuals who fly shuttle missions. Therefore, this experiment was developed to collect data on the first four Shuttle missions, with a primary purpose of conducting inflight observations supported by a series of preflight/postflight tests. The objectives of this study were to develop a set of predictors of SMS and countermeasures by determining whether ground-based tests that can cause motion sickness on Earth can predict susceptibility to SMS.

++ -- View more

Homick JL, Reschke MF, Vanderploeg JM. Prediction of susceptibility to space motion sickness. In: Bungo MW, Bagian TM, Bowman MA, Levitan BM, editors. Results of the life sciences DSOs conducted aboard the Space Shuttle 1981-1986. Houston: Space Biomedical Research Institute, NASA Johnson Space Center, 1987:153-8.

Vestibular function tests
Motion sickness
Pathological conditions, signs and symptoms
Space motion sickness (SMS)
Weightlessness countermeasures

Photo Gallery
+ View digital images

Data Information
Data Availability
Archive is complete. Some data sets are online.
Data Sets + View data

Some data sets are not publicly available but can be requested.
Data Sets+ Request data

Chair rotations per minute
CSSI scores
Head movements
Medication dosage and usage
Space motion sickness SMS
++ -- View more

Mission/Study Information
Mission Launch/Start Date Landing/End Date Duration
STS-1 04/12/1981 04/14/1981 2 days
STS-2 11/12/1981 11/14/1981 2 days
STS-3 03/22/1982 03/30/1982 8 days
STS-4 06/27/1982 07/04/1982 7 days
STS-41C 04/06/1984 04/13/1984 7 days
STS-41D 08/30/1984 09/05/1984 6 days
STS-41G 10/05/1984 10/13/1984 8 days
STS-5 11/11/1982 11/16/1982 5 days
STS-51A 11/08/1984 11/16/1984 8 days
STS-51C 01/24/1985 01/27/1985 3 days
STS-51D 04/12/1985 04/19/1985 7 days
STS-6 04/04/1983 04/09/1983 5 days
STS-7 06/18/1983 06/24/1983 6 days
STS-8 08/30/1983 09/05/1983 6 days
STS-9 11/28/1983 12/08/1983 10 days

Additional Information
Managing NASA Center
Johnson Space Center (JSC)
Responsible NASA Representative
Johnson Space Center LSDA Office
Project Manager: Jessica Keune
Institutional Support
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Protocol / Approach
Use of anti-motion sickness and/or anti-emetic medication