Astronaut John H. Glenn Jr., pilot of the Mercury-Atlas 6 earth-orbital space mission, confers with Astronaut Nurse Dolores B. O'Hara, R.N., during MA-6 prelaunch preparations.
Space nursing is the nursing speciality that studies how space travel impacts human response patterns. Similar to space medicine, the speciality also contributes to knowledge about nursing care of earthbound patients.
Since the beginning of commercial aviation in the 1920s, nurses have been part of aviation and flight. In 1958, President Eisenhower signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act to form NASA. Part of this act was to recruit nurses to work closely with medical teams to determine the fitness of astronauts for space exploration. Nurses helped observe the effects of spaceflight on astronauts upon their return from missions. 
Lt Dolores O'Hara and Lt Shirley Sineath were the first nurses assigned to work with the first seven Project Mercury astronauts. They worked to develop emergency hospital kits for the astronauts. These nurses had to ensure that the astronauts could manage casualties, plan for disaster control, and provide first aid in the event of an emergency.