Original Date: 04/26/1999
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Payload Safety Readiness Review Board
NASA’s Enterprise Strategic Goals rank safety as a high priority in the exploration and development of space. Likewise, safety is an integral part of all Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) programs and operations. Safety engineers actively participate in the design and development of payloads to ensure the safety of astronauts, ground personnel, launch vehicles, and other instrumentation. Hazard analyses are the primary tool in determining the safety level of payload designs and operations. Previously, projects submitted for phased safety panel reviews at NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) were often subjected to hurriedly prepared dry-run presentations. Occasionally, the project team openly debated the design details at these reviews. The JSC Safety Panel perceived these discussions as a lack of knowledge on the team’s behalf, and were concerned about the accuracy of the information being presented. This concern was reported back to MSFC as an unacceptable level of performance.
In July 1996, MSFC created an internal Payload Safety Readiness Review Board (PSRRB) to ensure the quality of its payload safety processes and products. Additionally, the Safety and Mission Assurance Office developed a Center Safety Readiness Review process to improve this aspect of work and provide a means of ensuring in-depth flight readiness of all payloads and experiments. Each PSRRB is chaired by a senior technical manager and utilizes members from appropriate engineering disciplines. The Board is responsible for issuing changes and makes the final decision for acceptance.
MSFC is using the PSRRB review process on a wide range of payloads and flight experiments, ranging from relatively simple microgravity experiments to highly complex systems such as the Chandra X-Ray Observatory. Keys to the success of this process are a high level of attention by management and the use of a formalized dry-run approach. Data captured between March 1995 and November 1998 indicates that the PSRRB review process has significantly improved the outcomes at the JSC Safety Review Panel. The number of unsigned hazard reports decreased from 31.7% to 15.7%, and the number of assigned action items dropped from 8.15 to 3.37 per review.
For more information see the
Point of Contact for this survey.