Do the majority of astronauts (and cosmonauts) experience nausea, or symptoms of space sickness while adapting to micro-gravitational conditions? How severe are their symptoms and how much they vary by individual, e.g. does the majority throw up during the weightlessness adaptation period?

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield explains from the ISS that space sickness does occur and how astronauts experiencing it deal with it in this YouTube video.

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    $\begingroup$ Care to explain the downvote. $\endgroup$
    – user54
    Commented Aug 11, 2013 at 23:47
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    $\begingroup$ I wouldn't know about the downvote, but the question appeared automatically in the "Low Quality Review Queue" due to its length, so I guess some reviewer was too prone to suggestions at the moment of reviewing it? I personally think it's a valid question, tho I doubt there is a need for a separate vomit tag. ;) $\endgroup$
    – TildalWave
    Commented Aug 12, 2013 at 0:16
  • $\begingroup$ I had plans to use this tag on a series of interesting questions. ;-) $\endgroup$
    – user54
    Commented Aug 12, 2013 at 0:24
  • $\begingroup$ Oh well. Space-sickness be it. $\endgroup$
    – user54
    Commented Aug 12, 2013 at 0:32
  • $\begingroup$ Hehehe, sorry about that then @horsh. I've included the tag space-sickness and edited your question for clarity and - hopefully - more agreeable language. I think that vomit or vomiting is just too localized for a tag, and since it is one of the symptoms of space-sickness, I think that should be acceptable. ;) $\endgroup$
    – TildalWave
    Commented Aug 12, 2013 at 0:32

1 Answer 1


Space motion sickness: incidence, etiology, and countermeasures (Martina Heer, William Paloski. Autonomic Neuroscience Vol.129, no.1-2, 2006. Pp. 77-79):

Space motion sickness is experienced by 60% to 80% of space travelers during their first 2 to 3 days in microgravity and by a similar proportion during their first few days after return to Earth.

Since $60\% > 50\%$ :), the answer to your question is an unequivocal YES.

Space motion sickness symptoms are similar to those in other forms of motion sickness; they include: pallor, increased body warmth, cold sweating, malaise, loss of appetite, nausea, fatigue, vomiting, and anorexia.

Facts to remember:

  • NASA's STS program: up to 80% of the U.S. astronauts.

  • A study on 15 Russian cosmonauts: 13 out of 15.

  • 50% of 72 U.S. astronauts reported various space motion sickness symptoms.

  • It doesn't matter whether you have flown before.

  • Space sickness hits both males and females.

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    $\begingroup$ It seems likely that astronauts under report their symptoms. Mary Roach, in Packing for Mars, cites a figure of 50-75% in chapter 6, "Throwing Up and Down The astronaut’s secret misery". That chapter is certain worth a read, as is the entire book, for that matter. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 12, 2013 at 23:17
  • $\begingroup$ To amplify on Jon Ericson's comment, astronauts have strong incentives not to report their spacesickness. There is a "right stuff" ethos, and people are competing vigorously to be allowed to go into space. $\endgroup$
    – user687
    Commented Jun 6, 2017 at 23:13

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