Space Safety Regulations and Standards

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When international rules and regulations governing space travel were first being developed, only a few countries had any space presence and commercial space activity was non-existent. Today, over 50 countries have on-orbit satellites and commercial space presence is essential to commercial telecommunications and broadcasting, yet international space law remains in its infancy. Space Safety Regulations and Standards is the definitive book on regulatory initiatives involving space safety, new space safety standards, and safety related to new space technologies under development.More than30world experts come together in this book toshare their detailed knowledge of regulatory and standard making processes in the area, combining otherwise disparate information into one essential reference and providing case studies to illustrate applications throughout space programs internationally. They address the international regulatory framework that relates to traditional space safety programs as well as the emerging regulatory framework that relates to commercial space programs, space tourism, and efforts to create commercial space station facilities.


  • Fully endorsed by the International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety (IAASS) and provides the only definitive reference on regulations and standards for the field of space safety
  • Combines the technical, legal and regulatory information in a clear and integrated reference work suitable for technical professionals, regulators, legal experts, and students in the field
  • Presents a truly global insight from experienced space safetyexperts worldwide,with representatives from the leading associations, institutions and companies operating in the arena today
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781856177528
  • Publisher: Elsevier Science
  • Publication date: 10/7/2010
  • Pages: 544
  • Product dimensions: 7.50 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Chairman of the International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety (IAASS) Academic Committee

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Space Safety Regulations and Standards

By Joseph N. Pelton Ram S. Jakhu


Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-08-096192-7

Chapter One

NASA space safety standards and procedures for human-rating requirements

Charles Herbert Shivers Deputy Director, Safety and Mission Assurance Directorate, Marshall Space Flight Center, NASA


Introduction 3 NASA Top-level Documentation 4 NASA Top-level Safety Standards and Requirements 6 NASA Human Ratings Process 9 Flowdown Methodology 11 Space Shuttle Program 12 Space Exploration (Constellation) Program 14 A Typical Non-crewed Mission Launched on an Expendable Launch Vehicle 15 Conclusions 15 References 15


This chapter identifies the standards and requirements the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) uses for major programs, including some detailed explanation for the Space Shuttle Program. Certainly, the International Space Station and Constellation are the two other large programs of NASA, but including the same level of detail herein for those major programs, as well as for major scientific endeavors being conducted via other organizations within the Agency, would likely be minimally instructive. Instead, one can obtain relevant information on these programs via simple internet searches, and safety regulations and standards in all cases follow parallel processes and decision-making flows. In short, the exhaustive listing of all the safety regulations and standards documents would be tedious and not very helpful to understanding the underlying process. Instead, it is far more important to provide a description of the flow of requirements, to identify the major policy and requirements documents, and to explain these documents' tiered relationship to lower-level programs, along with general pointers to detailed specific standards and requirements that constitute the overall safety program within NASA. In addition, a top-level document tree for the Constellation Program is included for illustrative purposes for the planned future work of the Agency in Space Exploration. This document tree provides a useful and simple illustration of the "flow down" of requirements for a non-crewed science mission launched on an expendable launch vehicle. Some discussion of the NASA Human Ratings process is also provided.


Where to start is as challenging as is the enumeration of the multitude of documents that constitutes the overall NASA safety standards and regulation. NASA's governance policy is as likely a place to start as any other. It is from this document that much of the roles and responsibilities are authorized and enumerated. NASA governance is described in NASA Policy Directive—NPD 1000.0, "Strategic Management and Governance Handbook", which is a responsibility of the NASA Administrator's Office.

This NPD sets forth NASA's governance framework—principles and structures through which the Agency manages mission, roles, and responsibilities. This policy directive describes NASA's strategic management system. It sets forth the specific processes by which the Agency manages strategy and its implementation through planning, performance, and assessment of results. In addition, as a United States Federal Agency, NASA has a public responsibility prescribed in law. "NASA must meet the intent of the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958, which established the Agency for the purpose of expanding human knowledge in aeronautical and space activities for the benefit of all humankind. NPD 1000.0A conveys NASA's strategic approach to achieving the Agency's Mission".

In NPD 1000.0, one finds reference to other top-level Agency documents pertaining to strategic management and to organization. One also finds a description of the NASA core values, NASA's governance principles, and the strategic management system that defines how the Agency establishes and conducts its missions. NASA's governance provides a check and balance system providing separate and specific authority to programs and institutional entities as they pursue the common goal of mission safety and success. Technical Authority (TA) is a particular item of interest and is delineated separately from programmatic authority such as institutional authority feeding into the Administrator. The programs hold certain authorities of risk acceptance and decision-making, while Institutional TA is provided via Center Directors, Mission Support Authority, Engineering TA, Safety and Mission Assurance TA, and Health and Medical TA. Each of these TA entities has a specific realm of authority that provides the checks and balances of Agency decision-making in executing missions. Authorities are exercised in review processes, requirements tailoring, dissenting opinions, etc. Proper implementation of the tenets in NPD 1000.0 demands a proper balance of authority, responsibility, and accountability, all of which are described in the NPD.

Perhaps the most useful of NASA's technical guidance documents to provide understanding of program and project execution is NPR 7120.5D, "NASA Program and Project Management Processes and Requirements", which establishes the requirements by which NASA will formulate and implement space-flight programs and projects, consistent with the governance model contained in the NASA Strategic Management and Governance Handbook (NPD 1000.0). Table 1.1 shows the hierarchy of NASA programmatic requirements. Figure 1.1 shows the document hierarchy and flowdown methodology.

Also useful to understanding the details of programmatic execution is NPR 7123.1, "Systems Engineering Procedural Requirements", which clearly articulates and establishes the requirements on the implementing organization for performing, supporting, and evaluating systems engineering. Systems engineering is a logical systems approach performed by multidisciplinary teams to engineer and integrate NASA's systems to ensure NASA products meet customers' needs (Figure 1.2). Implementation of this systems approach enhances NASA's core engineering, management, and scientific capabilities and processes to ensure safety and mission success, increase performance, and reduce cost. This systems approach is applied to all elements of a system and all hierarchical levels of a system over the complete project life cycle.

Another useful illustration from NPR 7123.1, "Systems Engineering Procedural Requirements", is the logical decomposition process shown in Figure 1.3. The process is used to improve understanding of the defined technical requirements and the relationships among the requirements (e.g. functional, behavioral, and temporal) and to transform the defined set of technical requirements into a set of logical decomposition models and their associated set of derived technical requirements for input to the design solution definition process.


The NASA Office of Safety and Mission Assurance is responsible for, among others, NPD 8700.1E, "NASA Policy for Safety and Mission Success", which provides top-level policy and responsibilities, and NPR 8715.3 "General Safety Program Requirements", which provides the top-level safety requirements for all Agency activities. "This NASA Procedural Requirements (NPR) provides the basis for the NASA Safety Program and serves as a general framework to structure more specific and detailed requirements for NASA Headquarters, Programs, and Centers". The document is not a standalone document, but is used in conjunction with the references contained within the document. In a broad sense, that reference section is an exhaustive bibliography of NASA's safety documentation. Thirty-one documents are referred to in the "Authority" section, and 99 are included in the "Applicable Documents" section.

Within those references are the Federal Laws and Directives with which NASA must comply, including those specific to activities in space exploration. Some items of particular interest to this subject are (the original numbering from the parent document is intentional):

j. NPD 8700.1, "NASA Policy for Safety and Mission Success."

k. NPD 8700.3, "Safety and Mission Assurance (SMA) Policy for Spacecraft, Instruments, and Launch Services."

m. NPD 8710.3, "NASA Policy for Limiting Orbital Debris Generation."

n. NPD 8710.5, "NASA Safety Policy for Pressure Vessels and Pressurized Systems."

o. NPR 8715.7, "Expendable Launch Vehicle Payload Safety Program."

p. NPD 8720.1, "NASA Reliability and Maintainability (R&M) Program Policy."

q. NPD 8730.5, "NASA Quality Assurance Program Policy."

aa. NPR 7120.5, "NASA Program and Project Management Processes and Requirements."

ab. NPR 7120.6, "Lessons Learned Process."

ac. NPR 7123.1, "Systems Engineering Procedural Requirements."

ad. NPR 7150.2, "NASA Software Engineering Requirements."

af. NPR 8000.4, "Risk Management Procedural Requirements."

ai. NPR 8705.2, "Human-Rating Requirements for Space Systems."

aj. NPR 8705.4, "Risk Classification for NASA Payloads."

ak. NPR 8705.5, "Probabilistic Risk Assessment (PRA) Procedures for NASA Programs and Projects."

al. NPR 8705.6, "Safety and Mission Assurance Audits, Reviews, and Assessments."

ao. NPR 8715.5, "Range Safety Program."

ap. NPR 8715.6, "NASA Procedural Requirements for Limiting Orbital Debris."

ar. NASA-STD-8709.2, "NASA Safety and Mission Assurance Roles and Responsibilities for Expendable Launch Vehicle Services."

at. NASA-STD-8719.8, "Expendable Launch Vehicle Payload Safety Review Process Standard."

aw. NASA-STD-8719.13, "Software Safety Standard."

ax. NASA-STD-8739.8, "Software Assurance Standard."

ba. NSS 1740.14, "Guidelines and Assessment Procedures for Limiting Orbital Debris."

bb. MIL-STD-882, "Standard Practice for Safety Systems."

bd. SSP 50021, "Safety Requirements Document."

bi. "Wallops Flight Facility Range Safety Manual."

bj. AFSPCMAN 91710, "Licensing and Safety Requirements for Launch."

cp. "Eastern and Western Range (EWR) 127-1, "Range Safety Requirements."

cq. NASA SP 8013, "NASA Micrometeoroid Environment Model (Near Earth to Lunar Surface)."

cr. NASA SP 8038, "Micrometeoroid Environment Model (Interplanetary and Planetary)."

cs. SSP 30425, "Space Station Program Natural Environment Definition for Design."

ct. NASA TM 4527, "Natural Orbital Environment Guidelines for Use in Aerospace Vehicle Development."

cu. McNamara, H., Suggs, R., Kauffman, B., Jones, J., Cooke, W. and Smith, S. (2004). Meteoroid Engineering Model (MEM): A Meteoroid Model for the Inner Solar System. Earth Moon and Planets, 95:123–139.

NASA uses these and other requirements to meet its stated goal: "NASA's goal is to maintain a world-class safety program based on management and employee commitment and involvement; system and worksite safety and risk assessment; hazard and risk prevention, mitigation, and control; and safety and health training".

NASA's Safety and Mission Assurance Requirements Tree is shown in Figure 1.4. In this figure, one sees the relationship of the top-level documents and the flow to S&MA disciplines and programs and projects. In addition, reference is made to the NASA Technical Standards Program and to the NASA Directives System where the documents listed above and others may be found. Again, a simple internet search will yield links to these systems or documents, but being designed primarily for the use of NASA employees, there are specific requirements for system access, left to the reader to explore.


Of particular interest are the Human Rating requirements imposed by NASA on select systems. Many NASA systems require "Human Rating". Systems requiring Human Rating must implement additional processes, procedures, and requirements necessary to produce human-rated space systems that protect the safety of crew members and passengers on NASA space missions.

Human-rated systems accommodate human needs, effectively utilize human capabilities, control hazards, and manage safety risk associated with human space flight, and provide, to the maximum extent practical, the capability to safely recover the crew from hazardous situations. Human rating is an integral part of all program activities throughout the life cycle of the system, including: design and development; test and verification; program management and control; flight readiness certification; mission operations; sustaining engineering; maintenance, upgrades, and disposal.

The Human-Rating Certification is granted to the crewed space system but the certification process and requirements affect functions and elements of other mission systems, such as control centers, launch pads, and communication systems. The types of crewed space systems that require a Human-Rating Certification include, but are not limited to, spacecraft and their launch vehicles, planetary bases and other planetary surface mobility systems that provide life support functions, and Extravehicular Activity (EVA) suits. A crewed space system consists of all the system elements that are occupied by the crew during the mission and provide life support functions for the crew. The crewed space system also includes all system elements that are physically attached to the crew-occupied element during the mission, while the crew is in the vehicle/system.

Verification of program compliance with the Human Ratings requirements is performed in conjunction with selected milestone reviews (System Requirements Review (SRR), System Definition Review (SDR), Preliminary Design Review (PDR), Critical Design Review (CDR), System Integration Review (SIR) and the Operational Readiness Review (ORR)) conducted in accordance with the requirements of NPR 7120.5, "NASA Space Flight Program and Project Management Requirements", and NPR 7123.1, "NASA Systems Engineering Processes and Requirements". NPR 8705.2, "Human-Rating Requirements for Space Systems", specifies development of products that are reviewed at each of the selected milestone reviews. The adequacy of those products and the acceptability of progress toward Human-Rating Certification are used to verify compliance. In addition, the Human-Rating requirements and processes are subject to audit and assessment in accordance with the requirements contained within NPR 8705.6, "Safety and Mission Assurance Audits, Reviews, and Assessments".

NPR 8705.2, "Human-Rating Requirements for Space Systems", also defines and delineates specific responsibilities for Human Rating including overall authority assigned to the NASA Associate Administrator and assurance of implementation assigned to the Chief, Safety and Mission Assurance, and the NASA Chief Engineer as Technical Authorities within their realms of responsibility. Additional responsibilities and authorities are described as appropriate.


Excerpted from Space Safety Regulations and Standards by Joseph N. Pelton Ram S. Jakhu Copyright © 2010 by Elsevier Ltd.. Excerpted by permission of Butterworth-Heinemann. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements; Foreword; About the Editors and Authors; Introduction to Space Safety Regulations and Standards; Part 1: Developing and Improving Space Safety Regulations and Standards for Manned and Unmanned Space System; Part 2: Safety Regulations and Standards for Unmanned Space Systems; Part 3: Regulating Commercial Space Flight; Part 4: International Regulatory and Treaty Issues; Part 5: Creating Technical and Regulatory Standards for the Future; Part 6: Conclusions and Next Steps; Part 7: Appendices; Index

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