a branch of space biology and medicine concerned with the mechanisms of regulation and compensation of functions in organisms exposed to all the various factors of space flight. These factors include acceleration, vibration, noise associated with lift-off, the active part of space flight and descent, weightlessness, the effect of cosmic rays, and changes in circadian, seasonal, and other biological rhythms established on earth.
The patterns determined by research in space physiology are the basis for biological and medical prognoses and for the planning of optimum routines for work and rest, sleep, and eating, and the living conditions of the cosmonauts and astronauts. Space physiology also seeks ways and means of increasing and maintaining bodily resistance during space flight—for example, by the development of rational physical exercise programs and use of certain prophylactic agents, including drugs. The findings of space physiology are taken into account not only in the selection of cosmonauts and astronauts and development of training programs but also in the solution of certain physiological problems arising under ordinary (terrestrial) conditions.