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Recorded: 12 December 2017
This year's Stewart Named Lecture was be presented by Jim Vanderploeg, Chief Medical Officer of Virgin Galactic.
The Stewart Lecture was established in 1969 to honour the life and work of Air Vice Marshal W K Stewart CB CBE AFC BSc MB ChB MRCP, who joined the staff of the RAF Physiology Laboratory in 1940 and commanded the RAF Institute of Aviation Medicine (which the RAF Physiological Laboratory became) from 1947 until his death in 1967.
This year’s lecture reviews the past 10 years of progress toward preparing for routine space flight for members of the public. The lecturer reviews the regulatory and legal climate affecting preparations for flying commercial space flight participants under the auspices of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration. Results from research conducted to evaluate the challenges presented by the broad range of individuals wishing to fly to space on commercial vehicles will be discussed. Dr. Vanderploeg includes a review of pre-flight testing and training used to identify and quantify the medical risks for commercial space flight participants and the mitigation of those risks. The lecture concludes with the application of results and recommendations from research and practical experience to the medical program at Virgin Galactic. As commercial space flight operations commence over the next one to two years, the opportunities to practice Aerospace Medicine in new and exciting ways will become a reality.
About the Speaker:
Professor James Vanderploeg, MD, MPH has over 37 years of experience in aerospace medicine with a career spanning the beginning of the Space Shuttle program through the advent of commercial human space flight. Until recently he served as Professor of Aerospace Medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas. He now is Professor and Executive Director for Aerospace Medicine at the Center for Space Medicine within the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.
Dr. Vanderploeg’s responsibilities include serving as the Chief Medical Officer of Virgin Galactic; the Executive Director and Principle Investigator on multiple research projects of the FAA Center of Excellence for Commercial Space Transportation; evaluation of airline pilots seeking special issuance authorization for medical certification following recovery from medical or psychological problems; and training physicians in the specialty of aerospace medicine. As Virgin Galactic’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Vanderploeg is responsible for developing and implementing the medical programs for spaceflight participants, Virgin Galactic pilots, and other employees.
Dr. Vanderploeg is a Past President of the Aerospace Medical Association and past Chair of the Fellows Group, an FAA Senior Aviation Medical Examiner, and is Board Certified by the American Board of Preventive Medicine in both Aerospace Medicine and Occupational Medicine. He has numerous publications, the most recent being the medical results from research projects using centrifuge exposure to simulate the G forces of a Virgin Galactic space flight.