Neutral body posture

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An averaged neutral body position as defined in MSIS

The neutral body posture (NBP) is the posture the human body naturally assumes in microgravity.[1] Adopting any other posture while floating requires muscular effort. In the 1980s, NASA developed the Man-System Integration Standards (MSIS), a set of guidelines based on anthropometry and biomechanics, which included a definition of an average typical NBP created from measurements of crew members in the microgravity environment onboard Skylab.[2]

Neutral body postures for six crew members from Space Shuttle mission STS-57

Later work by NASA based on research aboard Space Shuttle mission STS-57 found greater individual variations between crew members' neutral body positions than originally suggested by the earlier Skylab study.[3] In general, three main postures were exhibited by the crew as a whole. These constituted (1) an almost standing posture, (2) a slightly pitched forward posture with an extreme bend at the knees, and (3) an elongated posture with a straight neck. Differences in posture exhibited in this study could be a result of the athletic bearing of the participants or the type of exercise, or both, and the amount of exercise regularly performed. Other differences may also stem from past physical injuries such as bone breaks and knee or shoulder injuries, and from gender differences such as center of gravity.[3] No single crew member exhibited the typical NBP called out in the MSIS standard.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "NASA Standards Inform Comfortable Car Seats". NASA. Retrieved 28 May 2015.
  2. ^ "Man-System Integration Standards Volume I, Section 3: ANTHROPOMETRY AND BIOMECHANICS". NASA. Retrieved 28 May 2015.
  3. ^ a b c Frances E. Mount, Mihriban Whitmore and Sheryl L. Stealey (February 2003). "NASA TM-2003-104805: Evaluation of Neutral Body Posture on Shuttle Mission STS-57 (SPACEHAB-1)" (PDF). NASA.