Abstract The cross-sectional areas and succinate dehydrogenase activities of L 5 dorsal root ganglion neurons in rats were determined after 14 days of spaceflight and after nine days of recovery. The mean and distribution of the cross-sectional areas were similar to age-matched, ground-based controls for both the spaceflight and for the spaceflight plus recovery groups. The mean succinate dehydrogenase activity was significantly lower in spaceflight compared to aged-matched control rats, whereas the mean succinate dehydrogenase activity was similar in age-matched control and spaceflight plus recovery rats. The mean succinate dehydrogenase activity of neurons with cross-sectional areas between 1,000 and 2,000 μm 2 was lower (between 7 and 10%) in both the spaceflight and the spaceflight plus recovery groups compared to the appropriate control groups. The reduction in the oxidative capacity of a subpopulation of sensory neurons having relatively large cross-sectional areas immediately following spaceflight and the sustained depression for nine days after returning to 1 g suggest that the 0 g environment induced significant alterations in proprioceptive function.