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Categories: 2016, Launch

A New Documentation Process to Streamline Range Safety Procedures

In recent years, there has been an exponential increase in the number of Department of Defense (DoD), NASA and commercial auxiliary payloads at the Air Force’s Eastern and Western spacelift ranges.  The range safety documentation process is extremely thorough, but it was never designed for this significant increase in small satellites and auxiliary payloads launches.  Although it has operated successfully for many years, it is a cumbersome, time-consuming process.  As such, it is time to adapt this process to better accommodate this increased activity.  Spaceflight Industries and Millennium Engineering and Integration Company have proposed a document template to tailor, standardize, merge and potentially automate aspects of the range safety documentation for auxiliary payloads so that only one safety document is required for submittal.  Given that range safety processes are integral to the operation of spacelift ranges, the process using this document template is particularly relevant to the resiliency of our space infrastructure as it would shorten the approval timelines ensuring rapid access to space.  The current range safety paradigm requires all auxiliary payloads (including 1 kg CubeSats) to tailor Missile System Pre-launch Safety Packages, to include the AFSPCI 91-710 compliance matrix, Ground Operations Plan and other documentation.  The proposed document template known as a Standard Auxiliary Payload Package (SAPP) would be a standalone document covering all safety aspects of an auxiliary payload.  While this process is primarily concerned with ensuring that the safety review process never becomes a choke point for access to space, it would also complement Air Force efforts to synchronize Eastern and Western range processes.  Furthermore, it would reduce both range operations costs and government satellite development costs associated with launch delays.

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Author: Rusty Powell
Topic: Launch