Few humans have experienced these four conditions. Joseph Kittinger experienced localised ebullism during a 31 kilometres (19 mi) ascent in a helium-driven gondola.[1] His right-hand glove failed to pressurise and his hand expanded to roughly twice its normal volume[6][7] accompanied by disabling pain. His hand took about 3 hours to recover after his return to the ground. Two other people were decompressed accidentally during space mission training programs on the ground, but both incidents were less than 5 minutes in duration, and both victims survived.[1] International Space Station and Space Shuttle astronauts regularly work in Extravehicular Mobility Units (EMUs or space suits) that are at pressures less than 30% of the spacecraft to facilitate mobility, without experiencing noticeable decompression sickness.[8]

The only known humans to have died of space exposure are the three crew members of the Soyuz 11 spacecraft: Vladislav Volkov, Georgi Dobrovolski and Viktor Patsayev. During the re-entry on June 30, 1971, the ship’s depressurization resulted in the death of the entire crew.[8][9]