Safety Design for Space Operations - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780080969213, 9780080969220

Safety Design for Space Operations

1st Edition

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Editors: Firooz Allahdadi Isabelle Rongier Paul Wilde
Editor-in-Chiefs: Tommaso Sgobba
Hardcover ISBN: 9780080969213
eBook ISBN: 9780080969220
Imprint: Butterworth-Heinemann
Published Date: 1st April 2013
Page Count: 1072
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Endorsed by the International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety (IAASS) and drawing on the expertise of the world’s leading experts in the field, Safety Design for Space Operations provides the practical how-to guidance and knowledge base needed to facilitate effective launch-site and operations safety in line with current regulations.

With information on space operations safety design currently disparate and difficult to find in one place, this unique reference brings together essential material on:

  • Best design practices relating to space operations, such as the design of spaceport facilities.
  • Advanced analysis methods, such as those used to calculate launch and re-entry debris fall-out risk.
  • Implementation of safe operation procedures, such as on-orbit space traffic management.
  • Safety considerations relating to the general public and the environment in addition to personnel and asset protection.

Taking in launch operations safety relating unmanned missions, such as the launch of probes and commercial satellites, as well as manned missions, Safety Design for Space Operations provides a comprehensive reference for engineers and technical managers within aerospace and high technology companies, space agencies, spaceport operators, satellite operators and consulting firms.

Key Features

  • Fully endorsed by the International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety (IAASS), with contributions from leading experts at NASA, the European Space Agency (EASA) and the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), amongst others
  • Covers all aspects of space operations relating to safety of the general public, as well as the protection of valuable assets and the environment
  • Focuses on launch operations safety relating to manned and unmanned missions, such as the launch of probes and commercial satellites


Aerospace engineers, systems engineering and safety managers working in space agencies, the commercial space industry and consulting firms. Also suitable for use as a reference for senior and graduate level courses covering mission design and space safety.

Table of Contents



About the Editors and Contributors


Isabelle RONGIER

Paul D. WILDE, Ph.D., P.E

Tommaso SGOBBA

William AILOR, Ph.D

Fernand ALBY

John B. BACON, Ph.D


Christophe BONNAL


Bernard BRANDT

Kenneth BUTTON




Robert DEMPSEY, Ph.D


Melissa EMERY

Wigbert FEHSE, Ph.D


Jean-François GOESTER

Charles GRAY


Andrew HERD


Nicholas JOHNSON

Michael T. KEZIRIAN, Ph.D


Steven L. KOONTZ, Ph.D

Georg KOPPENWALLNER, Ph.D. (1935–2012)

Leonard KRAMER, Ph.D

Udaya KUMAR, Ph.D




Eugene LEVIN, Ph.D





Erwin MOOIJ, Ph.D




Sandrine RICHARD



Carlos E. SOARES

Richard G. STERN



Jérôme VILA

Gregory D. WYSS, Ph.D

Chapter 1. Introduction to Space Operations Safety

1.1 General

1.2 Safety Risk Management

1.3 Launch Site Safety

1.4 Launch Safety

1.5 Nuclear-Powered Payloads Safety

1.6 Orbital Safety

1.7 Re-Entry Safety

1.8 Aircraft Protection

Chapter 2. Spaceport Design for Safety

2.1 Introduction

2.2 Choice of Launch Site

2.3 Master Plan of a Spaceport

2.4 Ground Risk Control

2.5 Flight Risk Control

2.6 Safety Design for a Spaceport

2.7 Major Impacts of Safety Requirements on Spaceport Design

2.8 Specificity of Launch Pad Escape System Design for Human Spaceflight

2.9 Environment Protection

2.10 General Conclusion

Further Reading

Chapter 3. Ground Safety: Special Topics

3.1 Safety During Payload Ground Processing

3.2 Gases Storage and Handling Safety

Chapter 4. Safety in Launch Operations

4.1 Launch Operations Safety

4.2 Re-Entry of the Main Cryotechnic Stage of Ariane 5: Challenges, Modeling and Observations

Further Reading

Chapter 5. Other Launch Safety Hazards

5.1 Toxic Hazards

5.2 Distant Focusing Overpressure Risk Analysis

5.3 Other Launches and Platforms

Chapter 6. Nuclear-Powered Payload Safety

6.1 Introduction to Space Nuclear Systems

6.2 SNPS Launch History and Accidents

6.3 Launch Abort Environments Affecting SNPSs

6.4 Containment Design

6.5 Risk Assessment for Nuclear Missions

6.6 International Protocols and U.S. Environmental Review

6.7 Nuclear Mission Launch Approval

6.8 Nuclear Mission Launch Integration

6.9 Symbols and Acronyms


Chapter 7. On-Orbit Mission Control

7.1 Mission Control Center Design and Operations

7.2 Hazardous Commands Identification and Control

7.3 Flight Rules: Purpose and Use

Chapter 8. Orbital Operations Safety

8.1 Space Situational Awareness Systems and Space Traffic Control

8.2 Orbit Design for Safety

8.3 Conjunction Analysis

8.4 Collision Avoidance Maneuvers for the International Space Station (ISS)

8.5 Safe On-Orbit Manoeuvres Design

8.5.2 Risk Management of Jettisoned Objects in LEO

8.6 Spacecraft Charging Hazards

8.7 Spacecraft Contamination Hazard

8.8 End-of-Life Debris Mitigation Measures

8.9 Space Debris Removal

Chapter 9. Re-Entry Operations Safety

9.1 Introduction to Re-Entry Operations Safety Design

9.2 Re-Entry Trajectory Analyses

9.3 Re-Entry Breakup and Survivability Analyses

9.4 Evidence of Re-Entry Breakup and Survivability

9.5 Re-Entry Risk and Hazard Analyses

9.6 Design for Re-Entry Demise

Chapter 10. Air-Space Traffic Interface Management

10.1 Computing Risk to Aircraft

10.2 Aircraft Vulnerability

10.3 Typical Aircraft Risk Mitigation Approach

10.4 Alternative Approaches

10.5 Real-Time Management

10.6 Summary


Chapter 11. Safety of Ground-based Space Laser Application

11.1 Introduction

11.2 History of Satellite Laser Ranging

11.3 Concept of SLR Technology

11.4 International Laser Ranging Service and Mission Safety

11.5 In-Sky Laser Safety

11.6 Laser Safety in Space

11.7 Summary


Chapter 12. The Use of Quantitative Risk Assessment in the Operations Phase of Space Missions

12.1 Introduction

12.2 Communicating Risk to the Customer

12.3 Examples of PRA Applied to an Operational Program

12.4 Conclusion


Appendix A. Meteorology and Range Safety

Appendix B. Human and Structural Vulnerability

Human Vulnerability

Structure Vulnerability

Appendix C. Launch Chronology and Launch Failures


Reference Documents and Sources

Database Description and Summary

Orbital Launch Attempts by Date

Orbital Launch Attempts by Launch Vehicle Family Type

Orbital Launch Attempts by Country/Launch Provider and by Launch Site

Derived Orbital Launch Attempt Failure Rate Data


Appendix D. Lightning Protection Systems

Introduction to Lightning

Charge Structure of a Thundercloud

Types of Lightning Discharge

Vehicle Triggered Lightning

Electrical Discharges above Thundercloud

Occurrence Probability

Events in a Cloud-to-Ground Lightning

Parameters Involved

General Threats

Lightning Protection System – Components of External Protection System

Lightning Protection System – Internal Protection

Lightning Launch Commit Criteria

Protection of Other Important Structures

Additional Issues

Further Reading

Appendix E. The Role of Economics in Spaceport Safety


The Economics of Spaceports

Issues of Safety

Reactions to Safety Concerns

Demand-Side Design Considerations

Public Interest and Safety

The Institutional Context

Some Other Considerations


Appendix F. Re-Entry Risk Formulas



No. of pages:
© Butterworth-Heinemann 2013
1st April 2013
Hardcover ISBN:
eBook ISBN:

About the Editor

Firooz Allahdadi

Dr. Firooz Allahdadi served (1998-2011) at the United States of America HQ Air Force Safety Center in multiple capacities. He was the Center’s Senior Technical Advisor, Director of Space Safety Division and the DoD representative in the presidentially mandated Inter-Agency Nuclear Safety Review Panel.

In1998 Dr. Allahdadi employed rigorous scientific analysis to revamp Air Force’s conventional weapons operational safety and guidelines. This undertaking produced measurable operational efficiency and considerable real estate savings. He pioneered the Directed Energy Weapons (DEW) Safety initiative leading teams of experts to identify and quantify the entire DEW hazards spectrum. He authored the governing DEW operation safety policies, AFPD 91-4, which has been benchmarked throughout US military.

As the DoD representative, Dr. Firooz Allahdadi oversaw special analysis, provided technical oversight and garnered Presidential Launch authorization for the two Martian launches “Spirit” and “Opportunity” in 2003, the “New Horizons Mission,” a journey to Pluto in 2005, and landing of the nuclear powered Rover “Curiosity” on the surface of Mars in 2010.

He founded and directed the Space Kinetic Impact and Debris Division (1990-1998) at the Air Force Research Laboratory. He led teams of scientists and engineers to develop high-fidelity analytical tools to predict dynamics of the debris clouds created from any space engagements. This technology was employed to simulate specific space scenarios for national security planning.

Dr. Firooz Allahdadi lectured on transport phenomenon and conducted research on several nationally important programs as a faculty member at University of New Mexico. He is a member of the National Research Council, Chief Editor of the International Society for Optical Engineering and has authored over 75 scientific papers.

Affiliations and Expertise

Former Director of Space Safety Division of the United States Air Force (USAF), and representative of US Department of Defence in the Inter-Agency Nuclear Safety Review Panel, Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States of America.

Isabelle Rongier

Isabelle Rongier is General Inspector, Director of General Inspection and Quality, of the French Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) since April 2010, in charge of internal audit and risk assessment at Agency level, and responsible for quality standards application in management processes and space projects. She’s also responsible for certifying technical conformity to the French Space Operation Act before each space operation (launch operations and in orbit operations) is authorized. This certificate is then sent to French Ministry of Space on behalf of President of CNES.

Before (2005-2010), Isabelle Rongier was the Technical Director of CNES Launcher Directorate, dealing with all technical domain of a launcher design (solid, liquid and cryogenic propulsion, system and environment, mechanics and avionics). She has worked on all launchers operated from the European spaceport in French Guyana: Ariane 4 and 5, VEGA and Soyuz. She has always been deeply involved in safety methods and studies for all those launchers.

From 1997 to 2005, Isabelle Rongier served as head of system department and senior expert on flight management, including trajectory optimization, GNC algorithms design and validation, on board flight software design and qualification, transient phases analysis. All these skills are necessary assets for performing safety analyses.

Affiliations and Expertise

Inspector General and Director of Inspection and Quality, of the French Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES), Paris, France.

Paul Wilde

Dr. Paul Wilde has 20 years of experience in space safety standards development, launch and re-entry safety evaluations, explosive safety analysis, and operations safety. He is currently a technical advisor for the Chief Engineer in FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation and chairman of the Range Commander’s Council Risk Committee. He has performed leading roles for multi-organization projects in several high-profile situations. During the Columbia accident investigation, Dr. Paul Wilde was the principal investigator of public safety issues and provided technical oversight for the foam impact tests. He also performed key roles in the independent flight safety evaluations for the maiden flights of the ATV, Atlas V, Delta IV, Falcon 9-Dragon, Space Ship 1, and the Titan IVB.

Dr. Paul Wilde was a leader in the development of several major US regulations and standards on launch and re-entry risk management. For example, he was the lead author for five of the eleven chapters in the US national standard on range operations risk acceptability requirements, rationale, and implementation guidelines. Dr. Paul Wilde was co-chair of the Common Standards Working Group during the development of the FAA regulation on launch safety, and a principal author for the FAA’s Flight Safety Analysis Handbook. He has published over 100 technical reports and papers. He received the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal, Special Congressional Recognition, and several other awards. He is a licensed professional engineer in Texas, with degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California.

Affiliations and Expertise

Technical Advisor at the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Houston, Texas, United States of America.

About the Editor-in-Chief

Tommaso Sgobba

Until October 2012 Tommaso Sgobba has been responsible for flight safety at the European Space Agency (ESA), including human-rated systems, spacecraft re-entries, space debris, use of nuclear power sources, and planetary protection. He joined the European Space Agency in 1989, after 13 years in the aeronautical industry. Initially he supported the developments of the Ariane 5 launcher, several earth observation and meteorological satellites, and the early phase of the Hermes spaceplane. Later he became product assurance and safety manager for all European manned missions on Shuttle, MIR station, and for the European research facilities for the International Space Station. He chaired for 10 years the ESA ISS Payload Safety Review Panel, He was also instrumental in setting up the ESA Re-entry Safety Review Panel.

Tommaso Sgobba holds an M.S. in Aeronautical Engineering from the Polytechnic of Turin (Italy), where he was also professor of space system safety (1999-2001). He has published several articles and papers on space safety, and co-edited the text book “Safety Design for Space Systems”, published in 2009 by Elsevier, that was also published later in Chinese. He co-edited the book entitled “The Need for an Integrated Regulatory Regime for Aviation and Space”, published by Springer in 2011. He is member of the editorial board of the Space Safety Magazine.

Tommaso Sgobba received the NASA recognition for outstanding contribution to the International Space Station in 2004, and the prestigious NASA Space Flight Awareness (SFA) Award in 2007.

Affiliations and Expertise

President, International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety (IAASS) and former Head of the Independent Safety Office, European Space Agency (ESA), Noordwijk, The Netherlands

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