Simulating reduced gravity: a review of biomechanical issues pertaining to human locomotion

Aviat Space Environ Med. 1993 Jun;64(6):557-66.


In the decade preceding Apollo missions to the Moon, extensive studies were conducted on human locomotion in reduced gravity. These investigations focused primarily on issues of maneuverability and energy expenditure and not on musculoskeletal loading, which is of more interest to planners of long-duration space missions. The techniques have included water immersion, parabolic aircraft flights, supine and erect cable suspension and centrifugal methods. The practical implications of the findings from these studies are: 1) the present shuttle treadmill running surface would not suffice if one wanted to run with a natural style at levels greater than 0.6 G; 2) in terms of attempting to replicate typical ground reaction force profiles during locomotor exercise at reduced gravity levels, it appears as though it is easier to match the peak rates of change of force (maxDFDT) than it is to match values for the peak force magnitudes (maxGRF).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Centrifugation
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Exercise Test
  • Gait
  • Gravitation*
  • Humans
  • Immersion
  • Locomotion*
  • Research / instrumentation
  • Research Design
  • Running
  • Space Flight*
  • Walking
  • Weight-Bearing