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NPR 8715.5B
Effective Date: February 02, 2018
Expiration Date: August 02, 2024
Printable Format (PDF)

Subject: Range Flight Safety Program

Responsible Office: Office of Safety and Mission Assurance

| TOC | Preface | Chapter1 | Chapter2 | Chapter3 | Chapter4 | AppendixA | AppendixB | AppendixC | ALL |

Appendix A. Definitions

Certificate of Authorization (COA) or Waiver: A Certificate of Authorization (COA) or Waiver is a document issued by the FAA’s Air Traffic Organization to a public operator (e.g., Government organizations, public universities, and law enforcement entities) for a specific activity for a specified period of time (i.e., temporary). The COA or Waiver will specify the operations that are permitted, define the area where the operations may be conducted, the period of time (i.e., temporary), and specify altitudes at which they may be conducted.

Commercial Launch: A service supplied by the private sector that provides the capability of placing a vehicle and any payload into a suborbital trajectory, Earth orbit, or into outer space.

Contingency Management System (CMS): A system designed to manage the vehicle that provides a controlled response under the full set of circumstances defined by the mission’s risk assessment. The system may be comprised of a set of elements within the vehicle, including but not limited to, manual control, autonomous control, and recovery capability.

Entry / Entry Operation: The sequence of controlled thrust maneuvers or other events that brings a space vehicle or spacecraft from Earth orbit or outer space to Earth. Entry operations do not include suborbital flights.

Equivalent Level of Safety (ELS) (determination): The approval of an alternative approach to satisfying a range flight safety requirement where the alternative provides an approximately equal level of safety as determined by qualitative or quantitative means.

Expendable Launch Vehicle (ELV): A vehicle that, once launched, is not reused and typically is not retrieved.

Flight: Launch or entry of an orbital or suborbital space vehicle/spacecraft or operation of an aeronautical vehicle (to include aircraft, UAS, and balloons). For the purposes of this NPR, “flight” does not include on-orbit or interplanetary operations.

Flight Safety Officer (FSO): A person responsible for safety during a range flight operation. An FSO has the authority to hold or abort the operation, or take a risk mitigation action, which includes terminating the flight. FSO is synonymous with the term Mission Flight Control Officer (MFCO) used at some DoD ranges.

Flight Safety System(s) (FSS): A system (including any subsystem) whose performance is factored into the Range Safety Analysis and relied upon during flight to mitigate hazards. These systems include range safety displays, range clearance capability, radar, optic tracking systems, telemetry, tracking display systems (including instantaneous impact predictors), contingency management systems, flight termination systems, and command and control capability for flight termination systems.

Flight Termination System (FTS): A type of Flight Safety System designed, tested, and incorporated into vehicles that provides for the independent and deliberate termination of an errant/erratic vehicle’s flight.

Landing Site: The earth location on which a vehicle impacts, lands, or is recovered.

Launch: To place a vehicle, payload, or astronauts from Earth in a suborbital trajectory, in Earth orbit or in outer space. For an orbital mission, launch begins with lift-off and ends with orbital insertion. For a suborbital mission, launch begins with lift-off and ends with landing/final impact of all vehicle components.

Launch Site: The location from which a launch takes place. This includes land, air, or a sea-based position.

Mission Essential Personnel: Government or contractor personnel who are directly involved in ensuring the safety and success of a mission. For the purposes of range flight safety, mission essential personnel do not include any people on board the vehicle.

NASA Controlled Range Flight Operations: These are operations from: 1) a NASA range, or an offsite range where NASA is the range authority for the operation; (e.g., KSC; WFF; Kodiak, Alaska) 2) operations by a NASA-operated or controlled vehicle; or 3) operations involving a NASA crew or payload which are not FAA-licensed.

NASA Workforce: Government and contractor personnel who are directly involved in a range flight operation or who work at a range, launch site, or landing site where a NASA range flight operation takes place. For the purposes of this NPR, “workforce” does not include any crew on board a vehicle during flight.

National Airspace System (NAS): The common network of U.S. airspace controlled by the FAA including air navigation facilities, equipment and services, airports or landing areas, aeronautical charts, information and services, rules, regulations, and procedures, technical information, and manpower and material. Also included are system components shared jointly with the military.

Orbital Insertion: With regard to the application of requirements and criteria in this NPR to a space launch, orbital insertion occurs when the vehicle or component achieves a minimum 70 nm perigee based on a computation that accounts for drag.

Payload: The object(s) within a payload fairing carried or delivered by a vehicle to a desired location or orbit.

Property: In the context of this NPR, the term “property” is intended in the broadest sense. Property includes, but is not limited to, public or privately owned land/real estate, homes, factories, livestock, natural resources, facilities, equipment, and other assets (including those on or off a range or launch or landing site). Local authorities and Projects are responsible for identifying property that requires protection. In general, the range flight safety function to protect property does not include protection of the vehicle or payload being flown in a range flight operation.

Public: For the purposes of range safety risk management, public refers to visitors and personnel (excluding NASA workforce) inside and outside NASA-controlled locations who may be on land, on waterborne vessels, or in aircraft.

Range: A permanent or temporary area or volume of land, sea, or airspace within or over which orbital, suborbital, or atmospheric vehicles are tested or flown. This includes the operation of launch vehicles from a launch site to orbital insertion or final landing or impact of suborbital vehicle components. This also includes the entry of space vehicles from the point that the commit to deorbit is initiated to the point of intact vehicle impact or landing or the impact of all associated debris. This includes range operations with aeronautical vehicles from takeoff to landing.

Range Flight Operation: The flight of a launch or entry vehicle or experimental aeronautical vehicle including any payload, at, to, or from a range, launch site, or landing site. Range flight operations utilize specific infrastructure as well as trained and certified personnel to monitor, command, and control the range flight safety elements associated with Projects. Range flight operations do not include the flight of conventional piloted aircraft unless specific aspects of the operation require range flight safety involvement to protect the public, NASA workforce, and property. Range flight operations do not include on-orbit operations of vehicles after orbital insertion or prior to initiation of entry.

Range Safety: Application of safety policies, principles, and techniques to protect the public, NASA workforce, and/or property from hazards associated with range flight operations. Additionally, the term “Range Safety” is informally used to refer to the organization responsible for implementing/enforcing range safety requirements.

Range Safety Officer (RSO): A person responsible for safety during a range flight operation. An RSO has the authority to hold or abort the operation, or take a risk mitigation action, which includes terminating the flight. RSO is synonymous with the term Mission Flight Control Officer used at some DoD ranges.

Range Flight Safety Program: A Program implemented to ensure that the risk to the public, NASA workforce, and property during range flight operations is effectively managed.

Reusable Launch Vehicle: Experimental or operational space launch vehicle that is intended to be reused (at least in part).

Risk: A measure that takes into account both the probability of occurrence and the consequence of a hazard or combination of hazards to a population or installation. Unless otherwise noted, risk to people is measured in casualties and expressed as individual risk or collective risk.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV): A vehicle without a pilot on board that is controlled autonomously by an onboard control and guidance system or is controlled from a monitoring station outside of or remote from the UAV vehicle. A UAV is defined as an aircraft by the FAA.

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS): A UAS includes an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) or similar vehicle and all the associated support equipment, control station, data links, telemetry, and communications and navigation equipment necessary to operate the vehicle. UAS can be operated via a remotely located, manually operated flight control system or ground control system.

| TOC | Preface | Chapter1 | Chapter2 | Chapter3 | Chapter4 | AppendixA | AppendixB | AppendixC | ALL |
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