COMSTAC Systems WG Telecons Re Passenger Safety for Cmrcl Spcflight, virtual
15-Jan-2013 through 15-Jan-2013
The FAA's Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee's (COMSTAC's) Systems Working Group will continue its series of monthly telecons to assist in the early development of passenger safety regulations to protect occupants of commercial suborbital and orbital spacecraft. The first three were held in August, September and October 2012. Another three have been announced in the October 26, 2012 Federal Register:
- November 13, 2012
- December 18, 2012
- January 15, 2013
All begin at 1:00 pm ET and will last about an hour. To participate, contact Paul Eckert at 202-267-8655 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information on the purpose of the telecons and how to participate are in the Federal Register notice, which is reproduced below:
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee--Public
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
ACTION: Notice of Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee
SUMMARY: Pursuant to Section 10(a)(2) of the Federal Advisory Committee
Act (Pub. L. 92-463, 5 U.S.C. App. 2), notice is hereby given of three
teleconferences of the Systems Working Group of the Commercial Space
Transportation Advisory Committee (COMSTAC). The teleconferences will
take place on: Tuesday November 13, 2012, Tuesday December 18, 2012,
and Tuesday January 15, 2013. All teleconferences will begin at 1:00
p.m. Eastern Standard Time and will last approximately one hour.
Individuals who plan to participate should contact Paul Eckert,
Designated Federal Officer (DFO), (the Contact Person listed below) by
phone or email for the teleconference call-in number.
The purpose of these three teleconferences is to assist the FAA
early in its development of regulations to protect occupants of
commercial suborbital and orbital spacecraft. In a Federal Register
notice dated July 30, 2012, the FAA announced its desire to engage with
COMSTAC on a periodic basis, approximately once per month, on specific
topics. The three teleconferences announced today are a continuation of
the three announced in July.
As we noted in the July Federal Register notice, the FAA has not
yet targeted a date for proposing regulations to protect the health and
safety of crew and space flight participants. However, the FAA believes
that the development of sound and appropriate regulations for human
space flight can only be achieved with a deliberate, multi-year effort,
and that early industry input into this regulatory effort before any
formal proposal by the FAA is critical.
The topics for the first three teleconferences were: (1) What Level
of Safety Should FAA Target? (2) What Should FAA Oversight Look Like?
and (3) What Types of Requirements and Associated Guidance Material
Should FAA Develop? The topics for three follow-on teleconferences are
(1) Key Terms and Definitions for Commercial Human Space Flight
Safety Regulations. We would like to discuss key terms and definitions
relevant to commercial human spaceflight regulations, and characterize
their potential impacts to the various parties who have a vested
interest in the industry. Terms that will be discussed include:
d. Early Flight Return.
e. Landing Site.
(2) Aborts and Abort Systems. Abort systems have in the past been
element of many government human space flight systems for the purpose
of enhancing occupant safety. We will discuss the following questions
from a regulatory perspective:
a. Is an abort system a part of fault tolerance?
b. Does an abort only apply to the launch/ascent phase, or does it
apply to other flight phases as well?
c. Should certain types of orbital or suborbital vehicle designs
require a launch abort system?
d. What should the reliability requirements be for an abort system?
e. Is it acceptable to have a different level of care for occupants
during an abort?
(3) Fault Tolerance, Margin, and Reliability. To allow for industry
innovation, the commercial human space flight industry wishes to be
free to the maximum extent possible to choose between fault tolerance,
design margin, and reliability. We will explore the extent of this
desire from a regulatory perspective with the following questions:
a. What would be an acceptable rationale at a functional level for
a choice of fault tolerance, design margin, or high reliability to
protect the safety of spacecraft occupants?
b. What is the minimum level of fault tolerance? Is it different
for orbital vs. suborbital?
c. When is occupant risk high enough to necessitate additional
d. What determines whether fault tolerance is handled at the
function level or system level?
Interested members of the public may submit relevant written
statements for the COMSTAC working group members to consider under the
advisory process. Statements may concern the issues and agenda items
mentioned above or additional issues that may be relevant for the U.S.
commercial space transportation industry. Interested parties wishing to
submit written statements should contact Paul Eckert, DFO, (the Contact
Person listed below) in writing (mail or email) by November 6, 2012,
for the November 13 teleconference, December 11, 2012, for the December
18 teleconference, and January 8, 2013, for the January 15
teleconference. This way the information can be made available to
COMSTAC members for their review and consideration before each
teleconference. Written statements should be supplied in the following
formats: One hard copy with original signature or one electronic copy
via email. The FAA may schedule up to 6 more teleconferences in the
coming months to allow the U.S. commercial space transportation
industry to share views with the FAA on a number of specific topics
related to commercial human space flight safety.
An agenda will be posted on the FAA Web site at http://www.faa.gov/go/ast and http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/ast/COMSTAC_working_group/
Individuals who plan to participate and need special assistance
should inform the Contact Person listed below in advance of the
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Paul Eckert (AST-5), Office of
Commercial Space Transportation (AST), 800 Independence Avenue SW.,
Room 331, Washington, DC 20591, telephone (202) 267-8655; Email
email@example.com. Complete information regarding COMSTAC is
available on the FAA Web site at: http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/ast/advisory_committee/.
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