Commercial Space Tourism and Space as a Biomedical Laboratory

  • Charles R. DoarnEmail author
  • Arnauld E. NicogossianEmail author
  • Victor S. Schneider
  • Richard S. Williams


Human access to space is challenging, expensive, and pushes humans to the limits of endurance. Even though we have accumulated six decades of experience in human space flight, it is still a dangerous adventure. The ability to address medical concerns for healthy astronauts and cosmonauts has evolved over the past six decades. Space travelers who live and work in low Earth orbit are in relative comfort and have some level of assurance that a space medicine-trained doctor is looking out for their health and well-being. While access to space and return to Earth remain risky activities, life on the International Space Station (ISS) has many of the comforts of home, minus the gravity of course. As spacefaring nations encourage and facilitate non-government approaches to low Earth orbit, space medicine will be an important element in this emerging endeavor. Individuals who fly on commercial spacecraft to and from space stations or other outposts in near Earth orbit for the foreseeable future will be a much more health-diverse group than those who currently live and work on the ISS. While government and commercial investment in human space flight continues, the health and medical challenges for humans in low Earth orbit will increase. Space medicine experts will need to provide critical experience and knowledge for the “new” space travelers for this emerging paradigm. This chapter summarizes the potential growth of commercial space opportunities while reinforcing the role of space medicine.


Space medicine Commercialization Politics Tourism Human space flight International Exploration Medical technologies Life sciences research Remote healthcare Artificial intelligence 

Supplementary material

270970_4_En_19_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (944 kb)
Ch 19 Commercial (PDF 944 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationOffice of the Chief Health and Medical OfficerWashington, DCUSA
  2. 2.Department of Family and Community MedicineSchool of Medicine, University of CincinnatiCincinnatiUSA
  3. 3.Schar School of Policy and GovernmentGeorge Mason UniversityArlingtonUSA
  4. 4.National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationHuman Exploration & Operations Mission Directorate and Office of the Chief Health & Medical OfficerWashingtonUSA
  5. 5.National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationOffice of the Chief Health and Medical OfficerWashington, DCUSA

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