COE-CST study of medical standards on commercial spaceflight crew and participants
August 10 2012 05:03:06 AM |
The FAA sponsored Center of Excellence - Commercial Space Transportation (COE-CST) is a consortium of universities formed to "address current and future challenges for commercial space transportation". They have a long list of funded research projects currently underway.
One of the first task groups to to issue a final report examined the issues involved in medical requirements for both crews and spaceflight participants on commercial spaceflights: Flight Crew Medical Standards and Spaceflight Participant Medical Acceptance Guidelines for Commercial Space Flight - UTMB Health - June.30.12 (pdf)
Here's an excerpt from the introduction (I added some line breaks to make it more readable here):
Project Description: A degree of uncertainty remains in the commercial human space flight industry as to what medical standards are appropriate for flight crew members of commercial spaceflight vehicles.
While the FAA currently requires a Second Class medical certificate, some aerospace medicine physicians and commercial operators consider a Second Class FAA medical examination inadequate, particularly for orbital flight.
In addition, numerous recommendations and guidelines have been proposed for spaceflight participant (SFP) medical acceptance guidelines.
Multiple organizations and interest groups have published medical recommendations for commercial spaceflight; however, there has not been a consolidation of these recommendations, guidelines, or standards into a cohesive document that can be operationally employed by commercial operators, passengers and the FAA.
The anticipated outcome of this FAA COE-CST research project is two-fold:
A consolidated set of recommendation for crew medical standards that will be useful to the FAA in its regulatory responsibility for crew medical standards and safety.
A consensus set of passenger acceptance guidelines that can serve as advice to commercial operators as they develop their own medical programs.
Commercial companies will have the opportunity to incorporate these guidelines into their operations and adjust them as appropriate to meet their individual flight parameters, safety standards and risk profiles.
Companies currently are required to inform spaceflight participants about the mission-related risk, but the specific risk of certain medical conditions has yet to be determined.
The crew medical standards and SFP guidelines developed in this project are considered the minimum recommended and governmental agencies and operators have the option for additional medical and operational constraints.