As a part of the first joint USA-Russian MIR/Shuttle program, fertilized quail eggs were flown on the MIR 18 mission. Post-flight examination indicated impaired survival of both the embryos in space and also of control embryo exposed to vibrational and g-forces simulating the condition experienced during the launch of Progress 227. We hypothesized that excess mechanical forces and/or other conditions during the launch might cause abnormal development or the blood supply in the chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) leading to the impaired survival of the embryos. The CAM, a highly vascularized extraembryonic organ, provides for the oxygen exchange across the egg shell and is thus pivotal for proper embryonic development. To test our hypothesis, we compared angiogenesis in CAMs of eggs which were either exposed to the vibration and g-force profile simulating the conditions at launch of Progress 227 (synchronous controls), or kept under routine conditions in a laboratory incubator (laboratory controls). At various time points during incubation, the eggs were fixed in paraformaldehyde for subsequent dissection. At the time of dissection, the CAM was carefully lifted from the egg shell and examined as whole mounts by bright-field and fluorescent microscopy. The development of the vasculature (angiogenesis) was assessed from the density of blood vessels per viewing field and evaluated by computer aided image analysis. We observed a significant decrease in blood-vessel density in the synchronous controls versus "normal" laboratory controls beginning from day 10 of incubation. The decrease in vascular density was restricted to the smallest vessels only, suggesting that conditions during the launch and/or during the subsequent incubation of the eggs may affect the normal progress of angiogenesis in the CAM. Abnormal angiogensis in the CAM might contribute to the impaired survival of the embryos observed in synchronous controls as well as in space.