An emergency medical planning guide for commercial spaceflight events

Jennifer Law, James Vanderploeg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Commercial spaceflight events transporting paying passengers into space will begin to take place at various spaceports around the country within the next few years. Many spaceports are located in remote areas that are far from major hospitals and trauma centers. Spaceport medical directors should develop emergency medical plans (EMPs) to prepare for potential medical contingencies that may occur during commercial spaceflight events. The aim of this article is to guide spaceport medical directors in emergency medical planning for commercial spaceflight events. Methods: This guide is based on our experience and a recently developed EMP for Spaceport America which incorporated a literature review of mass gathering medicine, existing planning guides for mass gathering events, and EMPs for analogous aerospace events. Results: We propose a multipronged approach to emergency medical planning, consisting of event planning, medical reconnaissance, medical personnel, protocols, physical facility and hardware, and documentation. Discussion: Medical directors should use this guide to develop an emergency medical plan tailored to the resources and constraints specific to their events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)890-895
Number of pages6
JournalAviation Space and Environmental Medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Commercial spaceflight
  • Emergency medical services
  • Mass gathering events

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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