Abstract The exposure of astronauts and electronics to the cosmic radiation especially to the particle component pose a major risk to all space flights. Up to now it is not possible to quantify this risk within acceptable limits of accuracy. This uncertainty is not only caused by difficulties in the more or less exact prediction of the incidence of the cosmic radiation but depends also on the problem the quantification of the radiation field and the correlation of the biological effect. Usually the biological action of a mixed radiation field is estimated as product of the measured dose with an average quality factor, the relative biological efficiency. Because of the large variation in energy and atomic number of the cosmic particles, average values of the quality factor are not precise for risk estimation. A more appropriate way to treat the biological effects of mixed radiation is the concept of particle fluence and action cross section.