Intended for healthcare professionals

Feature Christmas 2012: Tomorrow’s World

Can I take a space flight? Considerations for doctors

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 13 December 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e8124
  1. S Marlene Grenon, assistant professor of surgery12,
  2. Joan Saary, assistant professor3, consultant 4,
  3. Gary Gray, senior consultant flight surgeon5,
  4. James M Vanderploeg, associate professor6, chief medical officer 7,
  5. Millie Hughes-Fulford, professor89
  1. 1Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94121, USA
  2. 2Department of Surgery, San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center, San Francisco, USA
  3. 3Department of Occupational Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
  4. 4Canadian Forces Environmental Medicine Establishment, Toronto, Canada
  5. 5Canadian Space Agency, Montreal, Canada
  6. 6Aerospace Medicine Program, Department of Preventive Medicine and Community Health, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, USA
  7. 7Virgin Galactic, New Mexico, USA
  8. 8Hughes-Fulford Laboratory, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, San Francisco, USA
  9. 9Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, USA
  1. Correspondence to: S M Grenon marlene.grenon{at}
  • Accepted 6 November 2012


Commercial investment is bringing space tourism closer to reality. Marlene Grenon and colleagues outline what doctors will need to know


  • We thank Amy Markowitz (UCSF) for her editorial assistance. This work was supported by start-up funds from the University of California San Francisco and the Northern California Institute for Research and Education. The project described was supported by Award Number KL2RR024130 from the National Center for Research Resources. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Center for Research Resources or the National Institutes of Health.

  • Contributors: All authors contributed to the conception and design of the manuscript. SMG drafted the manuscript while JS, GG, JMV, and MH-F critically reviewed the content.

  • Competing interests: All authors have completed the ICMJE unified declaration form at (available on request from the corresponding author) and declare no support from any organisation for the submitted work; no financial relationships with any organisations that might have an interest in the submitted work in the past three years; no other relationships or activities that could appear to have influenced the submitted work.

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