Celebrating National Space Day With Zero Gravity Chairs!

photo of an astronaut in space


We’re celebrating National Space Day! Believe it or not, the original zero gravity chair design has its origins in observations made in space. This day of celebration isn’t just about celestial objects, but impacts us right here on Earth. From insulin pumps and artificial limbs to wireless headsets and zero gravity chairs, you may be using inventions stemming from space science in your daily life without realizing it.

To give you a better understanding and appreciation for the holiday and our favorite design–the original zero gravity chair–let’s dive into National Space Day!

What Is National Space Day?

Space exploration gives us all a sense of wonder and awe. While we may have only been sending humans into space since 1961, our fascination with space stems back to the beginning of civilization. The fascination of space science has led us to invent so many new things for humankind, with more advancements being made every year. With all this innovation and fascination with space science, the first Friday in May has become National Space Day to honor and celebrate it!

Started as a single day event by Lockheed Martin in 1997, Space Day was a hugely popular success and expanded to become National Space Day in 2001 thanks to the efforts of famous astronaut John Glenn. Focusing on the contribution of space science and technology to the betterment of human society as a whole, National Space Day recognizes achievement in space exploration as well as their impact right here on Earth.

Space Science Gave Us the Original Zero Gravity Chair

We celebrate National Space Day with our favorite innovation: the zero gravity chair. The original zero gravity chair design stems from observations made by NASA of astronauts at rest in space. Free from the pull of gravity, bodies at rest in space take on a different position than here on Earth. NASA scientists and engineers recognized the potential benefits of this position for their astronauts and made major changes to the structure of the space shuttle as a result.

Originally, space capsules used by NASA were designed to promote functionality over comfort. Due to the lack of gravity in space, these work spaces were small and tight as most work was designed to be done while the astronauts were strapped into their seats.

Evolving to incorporate comfort and safety in addition to functionality, NASA made observations from Skylab, its first space station, of astronauts physically relaxed while in microgravity conditions. They noticed that while relaxed in microgravity, the body assumed a different posture than found on Earth under normal gravitational pull.

As opposed to an upright posture, the body at rest outside of normal gravity automatically assumes a position created by the angles of joints and natural positions of limbs. This position is now called neutral body position, or NBP, and is the result of measurements made of 12 astronauts aboard Skylab.

Contributing to the creation of the first zero gravity chair design, observations recognized in NASA’s Man-Systems Integration Standards (MSIS) NASA-STD-3000 changed NASA’s approach to designing its shuttle cockpits. They noted that the weightlessness of microgravity conditions caused physical changes in neutral body positioning, increases in height due to spinal decompression, and fluid shifts. While the original MSIS has since been replaced by the NASA Space Flight Human Systems Standard, neutral body position has become integrated into design as this positioning of astronauts in shuttle cockpits reduces the amount of stress on their bodies during launch.

The Evolution of Zero Gravity Chairs

National Space Day doesn’t just highlight the observations that eventually led to the creation of the original zero gravity chair design, but also puts a spotlight on the evolution of today’s luxury zero gravity chair. While you won’t find yourself floating around in your living room (which would be cool, if not terrifying), the potential health benefits of zero gravity chairs may drastically enhance any lifestyle.

Its benefits all stem from the design of zero gravity chairs. Traditional recliners actually focus excess pressure on the lower back and pelvic areas, exacerbating lower back pain and potentially triggering sciatic nerve pain in users. If you’ve ever stood up from a recliner and felt stiffness or pain from sitting too long, that’s why! A zero gravity chair, however, uses the observations made by NASA of neutral body position and extends its reclining posture further, allowing it to reduce pressure on the back and distribute weight evenly along the body.

This design change is the catalyst for all sorts of potential benefits from better blood circulation and chronic back pain relief to things like stress relief and enhancing how the body heals itself. They’ve also become exceedingly popular as a tool for spinal decompression at home and even as part of post workout recovery routines!

Growing on their own design, bonus features of zero gravity luxury recliners–such as massage and heat therapy–expand the benefits of zero gravity chairs for all ages. For example, a zero gravity chair with massage features may deepen your relaxation, aid in stress relief, and keep muscles relaxed. This is ideal for anyone ranging from athletes recovering from a sports injury to older adults needing help with age-related diseases. A heated zero gravity chair expands the benefits of heat therapy to a larger section of your body, keeping muscles loose and potentially helping with inflammation, keeping joints healthy, and more.

As we celebrate National Space Day, we recognize the hard working scientists, engineers, and other STEM professionals who have contributed to the betterment of society throughout the decades. Without them, we wouldn’t have so many of the comforts we enjoy today! We are also thankful for continued growth and expansion on inventions stemming from space science. In particular, where the original zero gravity chair design represented a new step in the evolution of home comfort, today’s models have improved on them even further. Choose a zero gravity chair to experience the difference for yourself!

Want to learn more about the benefits of owning a zero gravity chair? Check out these resources and see why we’re celebrating them this National Space Day: