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Schmoes in Space! Study Says Most People OK for Spaceflight

Today's astronauts have to be great athletes with advanced degrees to match their physical talents. Tomorrow's spacefarers? Not so much. A new study says that pretty much anyone — including those with diabetes, heart disease, asthma and back injuries — will be able to fly on the commercial spaceflights of the future. Researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston wondered if the G-forces that astronauts feel during launch and re-entry, as well as the microgravity experienced in orbit, would be too much for normal people to handle. To test it out, they put some regular folks through the centrifuge simulations that NASA astronauts have to go through. It turns out that, according to study author Rebecca Blue, "despite significant chronic medical conditions, the dream of spaceflight is one that most people can achieve." The heart risk associated with paying $250,000 for a ticket to space remains unstudied.

NASA Has a New Flight Plan for American Astronauts 0:53

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— Keith Wagstaff