Imagine looking after astronauts as your day job – that’s a day in the life of a flight surgeon.

Doctor talking to patient

Doctor looks at digital xrays

The Rundown

What does a flight surgeon do?

Flight surgeons support the health, safety and wellbeing of astronauts.

Flight surgeons are specialised doctors assigned to manage and oversee the health of aerospace personnel like astronauts or pilots. Mission crews have very specialised health and medical needs.

Space travel poses particular health hazards around weightlessness, travelling at speed and exposure to extra-planetary radiation, among other factors. Therefore, managing their health is not just about nutrition and exercise. It’s also about managing the challenges of living and working in these extreme conditions.

What you’ll need to know and do

Flight Surgeons are among the most specialised doctors in the world. Even though Australia doesn't have its own astronaut program, flight surgeons are in demand in the aviation industry. As more players enter the aerospace field, these opportunities will grow.

Your study pathway

Medical practitioners can become flight surgeons by completing training with the Australian College of Aerospace Medicine.

Degrees in the following study areas may also be relevant to becoming a flight surgeon:

  • medicine and surgery
  • biomedical sciences.

A number of universities in Australia offer degrees in medicine. Visit individual university websites for more information.

Key resources

Our key space career job roles and study pathways information is packaged up into downloadable PDFs that students, teachers or parents can easily browse through and keep as a handy reference.

Careers in space booklet image

Careers in space booklet

Our space career booklet covers all the space careers we talk about online, and can be downloaded by students, teachers or parents to read, share or use in the classroom.


Our department recognises the First Peoples of this Nation and their ongoing cultural and spiritual connections to the lands, waters, seas, skies, and communities.

We Acknowledge First Nations Peoples as the Traditional Custodians and Lore Keepers of the oldest living culture and pay respects to their Elders past and present. We extend that respect to all First Nations Peoples.