Space Medicine

The UCLA Space Medicine Fellowship, established in 2021, is a two-year fellowship open to graduates of four-year ACGME/OGME accredited Emergency Medicine residencies. The program is designed to develop the next generation of flight surgeons who will advance the understanding of human physiology in space and directly support the medical endeavors of human space travel and planetary expeditions. This fellowship will include rotations at SpaceX, a customized engineering curriculum with Caltech/JPL, biomechanical training with UCLA, austere medical training in Alaska and the Arctic, Mars analog missions, and research with NASA, alongside other opportunities with partnering agencies in the aerospace industry.



Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center

The Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center (RRMC) is located at the southern end of the beautiful UCLA campus in Westwood. It is a state-of-the-art, 520 bed academic medical center that offers a full range of medical and surgical services from primary to sub-specialty care. The one million-plus square foot, 10-story structure encompasses the operations of Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, the Stewart and Lynda Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital at UCLA and the Mattel Children's Hospital. UCLA is consistently rated in the top 10 medical centers in the country by US News and World Report. The 41-bed Emergency Department treats 52,000 patients per year and serves as a Level 1 Trauma center, as well as Comprehensive Stroke, STEMI, and Pediatric Critical Care center.

SpaceX Facilities

Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX), headquartered in Hawthorne, California is an American aerospace manufacturer, space transportation, and aerospace research corporation that was founded in 2002 by Elon Musk. The Hawthorne headquarters is a large three story facility that houses SpaceX office spaces, mission control, and Falcon 9 manufacturing facilities. Aside from this primary center in Los Angeles, SpaceX has multiple facilities including a research and major operation center in Redmond Washington, test site in Texas, and three launch sites. Space X also has regional offices in Texas, Virginia, and Washington DC. The goal of SpaceX is to reduce space transportation costs and enable colonization of Mars. SpaceX manufactures the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launch vehicles, multiple rocket engines, Dragon cargo and crew spacecraft and the Starlink communications satellites.

California Institute of Technology (Caltech) | Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) located in Pasadena, California, is a NASA development center managed by the nearby California Institute of Technology (Caltech), a world-renowned privately funded university known for its strengths in engineering and physical sciences. JPL is known for the development of planetary robotic spacecraft (including the Mars Curiosity and Perseverance rovers and the Ingenuity Helicopter) and the NASA Deep Space Network. Caltech, ranked as one of the most substantial engineering universities, has produced over 76 Nobel Laureates. Both are powerhouses of engineering and physical sciences.


The Space Medicine fellowship is designed to help fellows become experts, leaders and teachers in the field of Space Medicine.

Specific goals of the fellowship include

  • Work to design, integrate, and implement medical systems for space exploration.
  • Produce and support research including health data collection before, during, and after human spaceflight missions focusing on the effects of long-duration spaceflight.
  • Build an expertise on human physiology and contribute new knowledge on physiologic changes that occur with manned spaceflight.
  • Develop and coordinate space medicine flight operations with the breadth of technical, operational, and programmatic components.
  • Execute pre-launch and inflight disease prevention and be able to act in real-time to address developing issues pre-launch, during flight, and post-flight.
  • Prepare and execute crew mission recovery operations.
  • Provide medical support during flight operations as a training console operator.
  • Maintain clinical competency through regular practice in an emergency department.
  • Complete formal flight surgeon training and become a certified flight surgeon.


  • SpaceX flight surgeon training, research, engineering skill, and medical advancement.
  • Aerospace medical ground and flight training with affiliates in the military and NASA.
  • Enrollment in graduate level engineering courses with the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering.
  • Austere medical environment training including with Mars surface analogs, Alaskan, Arctic and Antarctic sub-zero environments, hyper and hypobarics.
  • Medical physiology advancement projects with NASA.
  • Opportunities to teach space medicine principles and simulate cases for medical trainees.
  • Fellows are expected to complete and publish research projects exploring space associated medical pathologies and potential advancements that will aid manned long-duration spaceflight.

Professional Development

  • Core curriculum of assigned readings for self-study, and didactic sessions with space medicine, engineering, and other associated faculty.
  • Regular meetings with the fellowship director.
  • Opportunities with space medicine leaders to learn from and explore career options.


  • Clinical responsibilities include 8 clinical shifts per month as an attending physician in the ED in UCLA affiliated hospitals including Ronald Reagan, Olive View, Harbor, Westwood VA, Santa Monica, or other local emergency departments.

Program Faculty

  • Jo Feldman, MD, MS, UHM, DMO, FAWM: Fellowship Director
  • Anil Menon, MD: Medical Director of SpaceX

Stipends & Benefits

  • UCLA employee with benefits
  • $2,000 CME allowance
  • Four weeks of vacation
  • $2,000 computer allowance
  • Travel and lodging for rotations outside Los Angeles
  • Salary dependent on ED shifts


Interested applicants should send Curriculum Vitae to:

Jo Feldman, MD
Fellowship Director

Interviews will be granted to qualified applicants by invitation.

Applicant Requirements

  • Graduation from a 4-year ACGME accredited Emergency Medicine Residency training program
  • Eligible to obtain a California Medical License

Current Fellows

Haig Aintablian, MD 2022-2024

Fellowship Alumni