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In Space, No One Can Hear You Say “Ahhh”
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Patricia Cowings became the first American woman to receive scientist astronaut training in 1978. While she never went to space, Cowings designed a program to help astronauts combat space sickness.
Cowings investigated the psycho-physiological and biological problems experienced by astronauts in space in the early 1980s. Because astronaut training time is precious, she had to come up with a program that would take astronauts no longer than six hours to learn. She designed 12 half-hour sessions to train them to control their bodily responses and regulate as many as 26 autonomic functions, such as heart rate and respiration, through biofeedback.
As a research psychologist at NASA Ames Research Center, Cowings has trained space shuttle astronauts, Russian space station cosmonauts, search-and-rescue pilots and military personnel.
This photo of Cowings is part of the National Air and Space Museum Archives.