New Report Categorizes Risks and Probabilities Associated With Space Tourism Flights

A new report presented to the FAA’s Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Council has laid out the risks associated with suborbital spaceflight. The review, done by A-P-T Research, Inc., says that tourists face risks ranging from gastrointestinal problems (likely) to suffocation and death (rare).

Table 3. Potential Hazards – Probability of Occurrence

PROBABILITY of OCCURRENCE

PROBABLE / CERTAIN
• Gastrointestinal issues – microgravity
• Dysrhythmia (changes in cardiac rate, rhythm, and conduction) – acceleration stress
• Excitement and euphoria
• Exposure to actions of other SFPs

SOMEWHAT LIKELY
• Motion sickness – microgravity
• Faint feeling – acceleration
• Headaches – low pressure
• Fatigue – low pressure
• Muscle strain – acceleration
• Minor injury during entry / exit from craft
• Panic / Fear / Fright
• Electrical shock
• Loss / damage to personal effects on ground

POSSIBLE
• Loss of consciousness – acceleration
• Moderate injury – ground failure or impacts within craft
• Connective tissue damage – acceleration
• Vertigo – loss of bearing / balance
• Exposure to dangerous wildlife – launch site locality
• Significant pulmonary/respiratory effects – microgravity
• Severe weather – launch site locality
• Cardiovascular effects – acceleration/microgravity
• Claustrophobia
• Inability to think rationally
• High altitude sickness – launch site locality
• Heatstroke / Dehydration / Sunburn – launch site locality
• Vestibular effects – vertigo / balance – noise

RARE – MOST LIKELY CAUSED BY VEHICLE OR SAFETY SYSTEM FAILURE
• Death / Critical injury / Dismemberment – failure
• Asphyxiation – loss of cabin atmosphere
• Temporary or permanent hearing loss
• Bone fractures – acceleration
• Eye damage – unfiltered sunlight
• Burns due to ground accident
• Ear drum damage
• Radiation sickness – exposure to space radiation

Table 4. Potential Hazards – Severity of Consequence

SEVERITY of CONSEQUENCE

CRITICAL
• Death / Critical injury / Dismemberment
• Asphyxiation
• Permanent hearing loss
• Bone fractures
• Loss of consciousness

SIGNIFICANT
• Moderate injury due to ground failure or impacts within craft
• Connective tissue damage due to acceleration
• Exposure to dangerous wildlife
• Eye damage – unfiltered light
• Ear drum damage
• Temporary hearing loss
• Heatstroke / Dehydration / Sunburn
• Burns due to ground accident
• Radiation sickness – exposure to space radiation
• Vestibular effects – vertigo / balance
• Electrical shock

NUISANCE
• Exposure to actions of other SFPs 9depending on situation – could be significant)
• Dysrhythmia (changes in cardiac rate, rhythm, and conduction) – could be significant in certain SFPs
• Motion sickness
• Faint feeling
• Headaches
• Fatigue
• Muscle strain
• Panic / Fear / Fright
• Minor injury during entry / exit from craft
• Claustrophobia
• Inability to think rationally
• Loss / damage to personal effects on ground
• High altitude sickness
• Severe weather