TIL Apollo astronauts would breathe pure oxygen for several hours before flights in order to avoid getting the bends when the cabin pressure was lowered after liftoff.

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  1. breathing pure oxygen for hours is an incredible amount of oxygen that people don’t realize. If someone is breathing pure oxygen from a big tank that you see, that’s gone really quickly.

  2. Not so. They used pure oxygen thru the whole flight. The reason was it was less weight to not carry the nitrogen needed as well as the complicated machinery needed to measure out and maintain the proper Nitrogen/Oxygen mixture ratio. Plus if the machinery failed to properly keep the mixture ratio the astronauts could pass out within seconds. There were dangers with using a pure oxygen environment but NASA still felt it was safer to use a pure oxygen environment (since the capsule was only pressurized to 5 psi). The final decision was made by Robert Gilruth, Director of the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston, on August 28, 1962.

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