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NASA Ball NASA
Policy
Directive
NPD 8610.7D
Effective Date: January 31, 2008
Expiration Date: January 31, 2018
COMPLIANCE IS MANDATORY
Printable Format (PDF)

(NASA Only)

Subject: Launch Services Risk Mitigation Policy for NASA-Owned and/or NASA-Sponsored Payloads/Missions - Revalidated w/Change 1 (08/27/2012)

Responsible Office: Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate


CHANGE LOG

Chg #

Date

Description/Comments

1
08/27/2012 Policy and responsibilities updated to clarify launch vehicles certification requirements in order to comply with the Agency's direction. NPD 8610.7D also updated to comply with content and structure requirements for agency-level directives.

1. POLICY

a. It is NASA's policy to have a mixed-fleet launch strategy to utilize both existing and emerging domestic launch capability to assure access to space for NASA payloads and their related missions. This directive addresses the process that enables NASA to take advantage of the full range of available launch capability while ensuring that the risks associated with access to space are consistent with the risk classification approved for individual payloads and missions. This directive complies with the requirement for program risk management documented in NASA Procedural Requirements (NPR) 7120.5, NASA Space Flight Program and Project Management Requirements.

b. It is also NASA's policy, consistent with the United States (U.S.) Space Transportation Policy, that U.S. Government payloads shall be launched on launch vehicles manufactured in the U.S., unless exempted by the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy and/or as part of an approved international cooperative mission with launch contributed on a no-funds-exchanged basis. NASA's launch vehicle assignment and acquisition policy seek to balance launch risk for individual missions with demonstrated launch vehicle history, flight anomaly, and mission failure resolution, if any, and NASA technical evaluation consistent with overall mission risk as follows:

(1) Launch vehicle mission risk classification and launch vehicle certification strategy, including determination of certification alternative, shall be reviewed and documented through the NASA Flight Planning Board (FPB) for each NASA mission launch contract award.

(2) This policy addresses three levels of launch vehicle risk for launches to earth orbit or beyond: high, medium, and low. NASA's approach to determine launch vehicle risk category and to mitigate the risks across category alternatives are through a launch vehicle certification process is described in Attachment A.

(3) Nothing contained within this policy directive shall preclude or restrict a source selection authority or NASA FPB from recommending for selection or selecting the utilization of a lower risk launch vehicle for any payload. A payload defined as a Class D payload, pursuant to NPR 8705.4, may utilize a common launch vehicle configuration certified to a Risk Category 2 or 3. A payload defined as a Class C or D payload, pursuant to NPR 8705.4, may utilize a common launch vehicle configuration certified to Risk Category 3.

(4) An on-orbit payload delivery services contract shall be considered on a case-by-case basis by the payload Mission Directorate and the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD). A similar risk assessment strategy whereby the vehicle's demonstrated flight history is consistent with the overall mission risk must be pursued. FPB review and concurrence is required prior to initiation of any on-orbit service acquisition.

(5) In considering whether to enter into a particular cooperative mission involving the launch of a NASA-owned or NASA-sponsored payload on a foreign launch vehicle, NASA shall pursue a similar risk assessment strategy, balancing payload mission criticality with launch vehicle flight history and the level of technical evaluation performed by the cooperative partner. FPB review and concurrence are required prior to initiation of the formal interagency coordination process required under the U.S. Space Transportation Policy. HEOMD will coordinate any proposed international cooperative on a foreign launch system with the sponsoring Mission Directorate and the Office of International and Interagency Relations.

(6) Each awarded NASA launch services contract or NASA Launch Services (NLS) task order shall include a provision requiring the launch service contractor LSC to support the launch vehicle certification requirements set forth in this policy and enables NASA insight, consistent with NPD 8610.23, into the launch service contractors and the launch service contractor's subcontractors' systems engineering, processes, and process control to ensure the quality and reliability of the launch services consistent with this policy. The Flight Planning Board, as specified in these two NPD's, can approve alternate approaches.

(7) In considering use of a Department of Defense (DoD)-provided launch of a NASA-owned or NASA-sponsored payload, NASA shall evaluate the risk using a similar assessment strategy, balancing payload mission criticality with launch vehicle flight history and the level of technical evaluation performed by the DoD. FPB review and concurrence are required prior to initiation of the formal interagency coordination process.

2. APPLICABILITY

a. This directive is applicable to NASA Headquarters and NASA Centers, including Component Facilities and Technical and Service Support Centers. This language applies to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), other contractors, grant recipients or parties to agreements only to the extent specified or referenced in the appropriate contracts, grants or agreements.

b. This policy applies to all NASA-owned or NASA-sponsored non-crewed payloads/missions designed for launch into Earth orbit and beyond and/or for other Government-sponsored payloads for which NASA is responsible for launch service acquisition and management.

c. This policy is not applicable to sub-orbital launches or payloads launched on the Space Launch System.

d. In this directive, all mandatory actions (i.e. requirements) are denoted by statements containing the term "shall." The terms; "may" or "can" denote discretionary privilege or permission, "should" denotes a good practice and is recommended, but not required, "will" denotes expected outcome, and "are/is" denotes descriptive material.

e. In this directive, all document citations are assumed to be the latest version unless otherwise noted.

3. AUTHORITY

a. National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958, 51 U.S.C. 20113(a), Section 203(c)(1), as amended.

4. APPLICABLE DOCUMENTS AND FORMS

a. NPR 7120.5, NASA Space Flight Program and Project Management Requirements.

b. NPD 8610.23, Launch Vehicle Technical Oversight Policy.

c. NPR 8705.4, Risk Classification for NASA Payloads.

d. U.S. Space Transportation Policy, December 21, 2004.

e. LSP-PLN-324.01, Expendable Launch Vehicle Certification Plan.

f. NC 1000-15A, Expendable Launch Vehicle (ELV) Flight Planning Board (FPB) Charter

5. RESPONSIBILITY

a. The Director for Launch Services, as delegated by the Associate Administrator for HEOMD shall:

(1) Conduct special FPB meetings, as required, to review and approve launch vehicle risk assignments to ensure compliance with this directive with regard to identification of launch vehicle risk category and sponsoring Mission Directorate payload classification, proposed vehicle certification strategy, and vehicle flight assignment for individual missions.

(2) Approve and tailor, launch vehicle certification requirements consistent with this policy for individual missions, prior to award of a launch contract, consistent with this policy for individual missions, prior to award of a launch contract, in coordination with the Chief Engineer, the Office of Safety and Mission Assurance, and the sponsoring Mission Directorate at mission-specific FPBs.

(3) Ensure the enforcement of this policy directive.

(4) Coordinate any requisite exemption request to the U.S. Space Transportation Policy requiring U.S. Government payloads to be flown on launch vehicles manufactured in the U.S.

(5) Develop alternative risk mitigation strategies, as required, for unique missions on a case-by-case basis, which are reviewed and approved by the FPB.

b. Each Mission Directorate Associate Administrator shall:

(1) Ensure that all respective spacecraft Announcements of Opportunity and Requests for Proposal are coordinated with HEOMD prior to publication.

(2) Determine and coordinate payload mission classification consistent with NPR 8705.4, Risk Classification for NASA Payloads.

(3) Serve as a member of the FPB responsible for coordination and concurrence on launch vehicle risk assignment and certification requirements for individual missions.

c. The LSP Manager shall:

(1) Define and implement launch vehicle certification requirements in accordance with this policy.

(2) Identify to the FPB any major modifications to a certified launch vehicle configuration that does not require recertification, but may warrant additional review, technical evaluation, and/or flight demonstration.

(3) Ensure that all launch services solicitations for NASA-owned or NASA-sponsored payloads are consistent with this policy and coordinated with HEOMD prior to release.

(4) Implement changes to the launch vehicle certification requirements, as approved and directed by the FPB.

(5) Provide, in accordance with NPR 7120.5, for the safety and mission success of the launch portion of any payload mission utilizing launch services acquired and managed by LSP and governed by this policy.

d. Mission Directorates, Center Directors, and the Director of JPL shall ensure that all NASA-owned or NASA-sponsored payloads under their control obtain launch services provided by LSP, are consistent with this policy and are coordinated with HEOMD.

6. DELEGATION OF AUTHORITY

None.

7. MEASUREMENTS/VERIFICATION

a. HEOMD shall maintain a record of launch vehicle flight history and reliability statistics for all U.S. and foreign launch vehicle suppliers in accordance with NC 1000-15A, Expendable Launch Vehicle (ELV) FPB Charter.

8. CANCELLATION

NPD 8610.7C, Launch Servcies Risk Mitigation Plicy for NASA-Owned and/or NASA-Sponsored Payloads/Mission, dated April 5, 2005.


Revalidated on August 27, 2012, w/Change 1

Original signed by

/s/ Michael D. Griffin
Administrator


ATTACHMENT A: NASA LAUNCH VEHICLE CERTIFICATION

NASA's approach to determine launch vehicle risk category and to mitigate the risks across category alternatives are through a launch vehicle certification process, summarized below, identifies the requirements to obtain certification as outlined in the matrix provided at the end of the attachment.

A.1 A "common launch vehicle configuration" is a unique combination of core propulsive stages, excluding strap-on rocket motors and stages utilized explicitly for orbit escape or trim. A "successful flight" is a flight which met the primary mission requirements.

A.2 Payloads classified as Class D payloads, pursuant to NPR 8705.4, may be launched on Risk Category 1 launch vehicles (i.e., a new common launch vehicle configuration with no prior demonstrated flight history and completion of NASA audits and evaluation of documentation specified in the matrix at the end of Attachment A). Other high-risk payload launch service options may be pursued through the FPB.

A.3 Payloads classified as Class C payloads and, in some cases, Class B payloads, pursuant to NPR 8705.4, may be launched on Risk Category 2 launch vehicles that have demonstrated a limited history of successful flights. Accordingly, Class C payloads, and, in some cases, Class B payloads, may launch on a common launch vehicle configuration that has been certified by any one of the three following alternative methods:

A.3.1 Certification Alternative 1 provides for certification of a common launch vehicle configuration with a demonstrated flight record of a series of 6 consecutive successful flights of a common launch vehicle configuration (i.e., 89 percent demonstrated reliability at 50 percent confidence using the binomial distribution without considering the other specific certification assurances, which makes the confidence level appreciably higher) and completion of NASA's evaluation of the limited additional documentation specified in the matrix at the end of Attachment A, or;

A.3.2 Certification Alternative 2 provides for certification after three successful flights (that include a minimum of two consecutive successful flights) of a common launch vehicle configuration, and completion of a NASA Design Certification Review, NASA-conducted Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V) of launch vehicle analyses, and audits and evaluation of documentation specified in the matrix at the end of Attachment A.

A.3.3 Certification Alternative 3 provides for certification after one successful flight of a common launch vehicle configuration and completion of the NASA Engineering Review Boards, audits, and the evaluation of documentation specified in the matrix at the end of Attachment A.

A.4 Payloads which are classified as Class A, and, in some cases, Class B payloads pursuant to NPR 8705.4, shall be launched on Risk Category 3 launch vehicles that have a more robust demonstrated successful flight history. Accordingly, payloads classified as Class A, and, in some cases, Class B payloads, may launch on a common launch vehicle configuration that has been certified by any one of the three following alternative methods:

A.4.1 Certification Alternative 1 provides for certification of a common launch vehicle configuration with a demonstrated flight record of a series of 14 consecutive successful flights of a common launch vehicle configuration (i.e., 95 percent demonstrated reliability at 50 percent confidence level using the binomial distribution without considering the other specific certification assurances, which makes the confidence level appreciably higher), and completion of a NASA evaluation of the limited additional documentation specified in the matrix at the end of Attachment A.,or;

A.4.2 Certification Alternative 2 provides for certification after six successful flights (that include a minimum of three consecutive successful flights) of a common launch vehicle configuration, and completion of a NASA Design Certification Review, NASA-conducted IV&V of launch vehicle analyses, and audits and evaluation of documentation specified in the matrix at the end of Attachment A.

A.4.3 Certification Alternative 3 provides for certification after three successful flights (that include a minimum of two consecutive successful flights) of a common launch vehicle configuration, and completion of extensive NASA technical evaluation, audits, and evaluation of the documentation specified in the matrix at the end of Attachment A.

A.5 NASA Flight Margin Verification (FMV) is required for all flight histories used to support Risk Category 2 and 3 certification of a common launch vehicle configuration. FMV is a verification by NASA that the common launch vehicle configuration met the predicted vehicle and performance parameters (e.g., within family and/or within three-sigma criteria). Resolution of all flight anomalies and mission failures is required by the launch service contractor with Launch Services Program (LSP) technical evaluation and disposition. A common launch vehicle configuration failure caused by a part or subsystem that has sufficient previous flight history, as determined by the engineering technical authority for LSP, does not automatically invalidate the consecutive success requirement. LSP-PLN-324.01, Expendable Launch Vehicle Certification Plan, will identify criteria/process for review of this condition.

A.6 NASA IV&V is a comprehensive assessment of the common launch vehicle analyses conducted by the launch service contractor. It will be based on the complexities and heritage of the vehicle. The LSP will propose the appropriate level of technical assessment (LSP independent modeling, launch service contractor model evaluation, and/or launch service contractor analytical review) at a FPB used to assess the certification strategy for a specified common launch vehicle configuration.

NASA Launch Vehicle Certification Requirements Matrix

Launch Vehicle Risk Category

Category 1 (High Risk)

Category 2
(Medium Risk)

Category 3
(Low Risk)

Payload Class (per NPR 8705.4)

D

C & D, sometimes B

A, B, C & D

 

 

Alternative 1

Alternative 2

Alternative 3

Alternative 1

Alternative 2

Alternative 3

Management Systems

AS9100 or ISO 9001 Compliant

AS9100 Compliant

AS9100 Compliant

AS9100 Compliant

AS9100 Compliant

AS9100 Compliant

AS9100 Compliant

Flight Experience

No previous flights required, can use the first flight of a common launch vehicle configuration, instrumented to provide design verification & flight performance data

Post-Flight Operations/ Anomaly Resolution Process

Flight Data Assessment Process

6 consecutive successful flights (89% demonstrated reliability) of a common launch vehicle configuration, instrumented to provide design verification and flight performance data

Post Flight Operations/ Anomaly Resolution Process

NASA Flight Margin Verification

3 (minimum 2 consecutive) successful flights of a common launch vehicle configuration, instrumented to provide design verification & flight performance data

Post Flight Operations/ Anomaly Resolution Process

NASA Flight Margin Verification

1 successful flight of a common launch vehicle configuration, instrumented to provide design verification & flight performance data

Post Flight Operations/ Anomaly Resolution Process

NASA Flight Margin Verification

14 consecutive successful flights (95% demonstrated reliability) of a common launch vehicle configuration, instrumented to provide design verification and flight performance data

Post Flight Operations/ Anomaly Resolution Process

NASA Flight Margin Verification

6 successful flights (minimum 3 consecutive) of a common launch vehicle configuration, instrumented to provide design verification and flight performance data

Post Flight Operations/ Anomaly Resolution Process

NASA Flight Margin Verification

3 (minimum 2 consecutive) successful flights of a common launch vehicle configuration, instrumented to provide design verification & flight performance data

Post Flight Operations/ Anomaly Resolution Process

NASA Flight Margin Verification

Design

NASA assessment of LSC design reliability

NASA assessment of LSC design reliability

NASA assessment of LSC design reliability

NASA assessment of design LSC reliability

NASA assessment of LSC design reliability

NASA assessment of LSC design reliability

NASA assessment of LSC design reliability

Mfg & Ops and Systems Engineering

NASA Audits

Documented ICD Process

None

NASA Audits

NASA Audits

None

NASA Audits

NASA Audits

System Safety

FMEA for all safety critical components

Preliminary & Final Hazard Analysis

Compliance with applicable Range Safety Requirements

Demonstrated compliance with applicable Range Safety Requirements

Demonstrated compliance with applicable Range Safety Requirements

Demonstrated Compliance with applicable Range Safety Requirements

Demonstrated compliance with applicable Range Safety Requirements

Demonstrated compliance with applicable Range Safety Requirements

Demonstrated compliance with applicable Range Safety Requirements

Test & Verification

Acceptance Test Plan in place
Ground Test, End-to-End Tests complete

 

None

NASA Design Certification Review

Comprehensive Acceptance Test results

 

None

NASA Design Certification Review

Comprehensive Acceptance Test results

Quality Systems/Process

NASA Audit

None

NASA Audit

NASA Audit

None

NASA Audit

NASA Audit

Flight Hardware & Software Qualification

Space Qualified Hardware (for application) Testing completed

None

NASA Design Certification Review

Series of NASA Engineering Review Boards on vehicle subsystems

None

NASA Design Certification Review

Series of NASA Engineering Review Boards on vehicle subsystems

LV Analysis

Analysis Plan/Definition

 

None

NASA IV&V

Analysis Plan/Definition

NASA Coupled Loads Analysis IV&V

 

None

NASA IV&V

NASA IV&V

Risk Management

Risk Plan, Mitigated and Accepted Technical and Safety Risks

Risk Plan, Mitigated and Accepted Technical and Safety Risks

Risk Plan, Mitigated and Accepted Technical and Safety Risks

Risk Plan, Mitigated and Accepted Technical and Safety Risks

Risk Plan, Mitigated and Accepted Technical and Safety Risks

Risk Plan, Mitigated and Accepted Technical and Safety Risks

Risk Plan, Mitigated and Accepted Technical and Safety Risks

Integrated Analysis

None

 

None

None

None

 

None

None

Full Vehicle Fishbone

Launch Complex

None

 

None

NASA Design Certification Review

NASA Engineering Review Board

 

None

NASA Design Certification Review

NASA Engineering Review Board

NOTES:

Launch failures do not invalidate previous launch vehicle certification if NASA Engineering Review Board concurs with cause and corrective action. Risk Category 3 certification requires NASA participation in Launch Service Contractor's failure review process.

Major launch vehicle upgrades may require additional NASA technical penetration and/or flight demonstration

Full NASA Engineering and SMA insight per NPD 8610.23 applied to all risk categories, except for secondary payloads.

Matrix terms are defined in LSP-PLN-324.01, Expendable Launch Vehicle Certification Plan.

Using the binomial distribution, the confidence level associated with the listed reliability values is 50 percent. However, the binomial assumes no information from the flights other than success or failure. Because of the other specific certification assurances, the confidence level is appreciably higher than 50 percent, which applies to all the alternatives (columns) in the table.


ATTACHMENT B: REFERENCES

B.1 U.S. National Space Policy, June 28, 2010.

B.2 Department of Defense Authorization Act of 1985," 10 U.S.C. Section 2319, Section 1216, as amended.

B.3 NASA Authorization Act of 1988 (P.L. 100-147), 51 U.S.C. 20142 et seq., Section 311, as amended.

B.4 NASA Authorization Act of 1989 (P.L. 100-147), 51 U.S.C. 20142 et seq., Section 311, as amended.

B.5 Commercial Space Act of 1998 (P.L. 105-303), 51 U.S.C. 50131 et seq., Section 201, as amended.

B.6 Commercial Space Act of 1998 (P.L. 105-303), 51 U.S.C. 50131 et seq., Section 202, as amended.

(URL for Graphic)

None.


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