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First cold in space: Wally Schirra came down with a cold in October 1968 while orbiting in Apollo 7. During their ten days in space, Donn Eisele and Walter Cunningham caught it from him, leading to a decision not to wear helmets during re-entry to keep air pressure on ear drums equalized as cabin pressure changed during descent. Schirra reappeared 17 years later advertising a cold remedy on TV.
First health delay: The blastoff of Apollo 9 was delayed from February 28 to March 3, 1968, when crew members James A. McDivitt, David R. Scott and Russell L. Schweickart had the sniffles.
First dinner stopped by germs: A NASA doctor called off a dinner President Richard M. Nixon wanted to give for Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins on July 15, 1969, the night before they left for the first-ever Moon landing. Collins said later, "I'm sure presidential germs are benign."
First measles scare: Launch of Apollo 13 in 1970 was affected by illness, but wasn't delayed because a back-up crew was ready. Thomas K. Mattingly 2nd had to be replaced April 6 by John L. Swigert Jr. after doctors realized Mattingly had been in contact with astronaut Charles M. Duke Jr. before Duke came down with German measles. Apollo 13 was launched April 11 with Swigert rather than Mattingly, but the flight was interrupted on the way to the Moon when an oxygen tank ruptured. Swigert and his travelling companions, James Lovell and Fred Haise, returned to Earth. Meanwhile, Mattingly, safe at home, did not develop measles. Two years later Mattingly rode Apollo 16 to the Moon.
Last back-up crews: NASA stopped training back-up crews in 1982 as trained shuttle astronauts were on hand for last-minute changes. To prevent illness, all but family and those absolutely necessary stay more than six feet from crew members for seven days before lift-off.
First space station illness: Cosmonaut Vladimir Vasyutin became ill with a 104 degree fever while orbiting in the Salyut 7 station. He had flown there in September 1985. Vasyutin became ill in November, flew home and was hospitalized with a full recovery in December.
First heart murmur: Alexander Laveikin flew to Mir station in February 1987. After six months in space, he showed an unusual heartbeat. Doctors on the ground ordered him to fly home in July.
Most famous head cold: The sore throat and head cold of Atlantis commander John O. "J.O." Creighton was the first time a U.S. shuttle had to be postponed due to crew illness. After the February 1990 flight, Creighton told reporters, "I probably had the world's most famous cold."
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