Effective Date: April 29, 2021
Expiration Date: April 29, 2026
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3.1.1 The MDAA establishes a set of mission directorate requirements reflecting the key objectives of the project for NASA missions and instruments (see NPR 7120.5).
3.1.2 The Mission Directorate designates the mission or instrument risk tolerance class as early in the formulation process as possible (e.g., Announcement of Opportunity (AO)).
3.1.3 The risk tolerance classes, further characterized in Appendix C, are:
188.8.131.52 Class A: The lowest risk tolerance that is driven more by technical objectives. This would normally represent a very high priority mission with very high complexity, as described in Appendix C.
184.108.40.206 Class B: Low risk tolerance that is driven more by technical objectives. This would normally represent a high priority mission with high complexity, as described in Appendix C.
220.127.116.11 Class C: Moderate risk tolerance that is driven more by technical objectives. This would normally represent a medium priority mission with medium complexity, as described in Appendix C.
18.104.22.168 Class D: High risk tolerance that is driven more by programmatic constraints. This would normally represent a lower priority mission with a medium to low complexity, as described in Appendix C.
3.1.4 The MDAA shall designate and document mission and instrument risk tolerance classes in the KDP B Decision Memorandum, considering the guidance in Appendix C.
3.1.5 The MDAA may choose to not designate a mission or instrument risk tolerance class or to designate a mission or instrument at a higher risk tolerance than Class D if the Mission Directorate determines that mission or instrument has a higher risk tolerance than the risk tolerance classes described in paragraph 3.1.3.
22.214.171.124 Such missions or instruments still document any SMA objectives in Appendix D imposed on the project by the sponsoring organization (e.g., Request for Proposal, AO) and their approach to satisfy those objectives in an Assurance Implementation Matrix as defined in paragraph 3.2.2.
126.96.36.199 Such missions or instruments are still subject to the requirements listed in paragraph 3.3.1.
3.1.6 The MDAA, in consultation with the Chief, SMA and the Chief Engineer, may change the risk classification for NASA missions and instruments in Formulation Phase (see NPR 7120.5 for project phase definitions).
3.2.1 Appendix D identifies reference SMA objectives to be satisfied as a function of the designated risk tolerance class. Projects satisfy the objectives in Appendix D either using standards that have already been accepted by NASA and are identified in Appendix D; or using alternate approaches or standards proposed by the project and determined to be appropriate for the mission, risk tolerance class, and specified application by the Technical Authorities. This provides projects with the flexibility to propose tailored and innovative means of meeting the SMA objectives.
3.2.2 Prior to SRR, the Project Manager shall formulate and obtain MDAA approval and Chief, SMA and Chief Engineer concurrence of SMA objectives consistent with the designated risk tolerance class(es) and reference SMA objectives in Appendix D. The objectives should be documented via an Assurance Implementation Matrix (see Appendix E) appended to the (Preliminary) Project Plan (see NPR 7120.5). In lieu of the Assurance Implementation Matrix, the MDAA may invoke a standardized Mission Assurance Requirements document.
Note: The Science Mission Directorate (SMD) Standard Mission Assurance Requirements Payload Classification: D is an example of a standardized Mission Assurance Requirements document.
3.2.3 The NASA Project Manager, with concurrence from the Project-Level SMA TA, shall establish, document, and implement the project’s SMA Plan detailing project-specific assurance plans, standards, methods, processes, and practices consistent with the approved Assurance Implementation Matrix.
3.2.4 The NASA Project Manager shall obtain Project-Level SMA TA concurrence on departures from the SMA Plan including standards referenced therein. When appropriate, concurrences are obtained in accordance with Center-level processes to resolve such matters as the tailoring of and waivers and deviations to requirements.
3.2.5 At LCRs, KDPs, and SMSR, the NASA Project Manager shall report actual and planned departures from the baseline Assurance Implementation Matrix to the Mission Directorate and the OSMA.
3.3.1 The following documents are applicable to NASA missions and instruments regardless of risk tolerance class:
a. NPR 8621.1, NASA Procedural Requirements for Mishap and Close Call Reporting, Investigating, and Recordkeeping.
b. NPR 8705.6, Safety and Mission Assurance (SMA) Audits, Reviews, and Assessments; Chapter 3. Safety and Mission Success Review (SMSR).
c. NPR 8715.3, NASA General Safety Program Requirements; Chapter 6. Nuclear Safety for Launching of Radioactive Materials.
d. NPR 8715.5, Range Flight Safety Program.
e. NPR 8715.6, NASA Procedural Requirements for Limiting Orbital Debris and Evaluating the Meteoroid and Orbital Debris Environments.
f. NPR 8715.7, Payload Safety Program.
g. NPR 8715.24, Planetary Protection Protection Provisions for Robotic Extraterrestrial Missions.
h. NPR 8735.1, Exchange of Problem Data Using NASA Advisories and the Government-Industry Data Exchange Program (GIDEP).
3.3.2 Processes for the relief from the requirements in these directives are defined in NPR 8715.3, section 1.13.
3.3.3 Centers and Mission Directorates may develop and update derived policies, standards, and guidelines to expand upon the requirements referenced in the documents and specified sections in paragraph 3.3.1 of this directive for the unique needs of their respective projects. Projects may further be subject to Center-level safety and health requirements.
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