September 16–The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has released a compilation of practices that it believes are important and recommends for commercial human space flight occupant safety. The “Recommended Practices for Human Space Flight Occupant Safety" report provides a framework for industry to use in developing industry consensus standards. It can also serve as a starting point, should there be a need for the government to issue regulations at some point in the future.
In developing the document, the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation (see Fact Sheet) reviewed existing government and private sector requirements and standards to tap into the wealth of information that has been accrued through fifty years of human space flight. The FAA also consulted with a wide audience, including the Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the FAA’s Civil Aerospace Medical Institute, and the FAA’s Center of Excellence for Commercial Space Transportation.
The recommended safety practices are broadly written and primarily performance based, stating a safety objective to be achieved, and leaving the design or operational solution up to the designer or operator. In preparing the recommended practices the FAA wanted to encourage technology innovation and, with safety being FAA’s highest priority, see that flight crew or space flight participants are less likely exposed to avoidable risks.