Blog Space 18 September 2014

Fat? Unfit? Sick? We can still launch you into space

The 20 G centrifuge at the NASA Ames Research Center. But doctors say most people could take the stress.

Doctors say that almost anyone can join a commercial spaceflight, traditionally the preserve of the super fit astronaut.

In fact it is hard to find a disorder or condition that rules you out.

People with common medical problems — high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, lung diseases like asthma or emphysema and back and neck injuries, surgeries or disorders — would be able to tolerate the stresses of commercial spaceflight, the aerospace medicine group at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston says, after studying how average people would cope.

The key seems to be that, whatever your medical condition, it is well-controlled. " Lead author Dr. Rebecca Blue explains:

Physiological stresses of flight include increased acceleration forces, or 'G-forces,' during launch and re-entry, as well as the microgravity period. Our goal was to see how average people with common medical problems, who aren't necessarily as fit as a career astronaut, would be able to tolerate these stresses of an anticipated commercial spaceflight.

The researchers made their findings by putting people with a range of conditions through centrifuge simulations of spaceflight launch and re-entry and studying how they performed.

They do not say how they got that one past their insurance company.

The report was published in the journal Aviation, Space and Environmental Medicine.

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