The FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation (FAA-AST) has released version 1.0 of its Recommended Practices for Human Space Flight Occupant Safety.

The recommendations cover the safety of flight crew and spaceflight participants and include the design, manufacturing, and operations of suborbital and orbital launch and reentry vehicles. The recommendations assume that any orbital vehicle will stay in orbit for a maximum of 2 weeks and return to Earth in under 24 hours if necessary. Orbital rendezvous and docking, flights longer than 2 weeks, EVA, and flights beyond Earth orbit may be addressed in future versions.

To develop the recommendations FAA-AST reviewed existing standards, including those of NASA, the European Space Agency, and the International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety. The FAA was guided primarily by NASA requirements for the Commercial Crew Program.

The goal is to ensure that occupant safety is considered throughout the lifecycle of a spaceflight system and that occupants are not exposed to avoidable risks. The document does not aim to establish a single level of risk for commercial human spaceflight. The FAA believes that such a standard might inadvertently limit innovation. Given the variety of commercial spaceflight activities that are likely to take place in the future, with differing destinations, purposes, and architectures, the FAA believes that differing levels of risk acceptance may be appropriate.

The document establishes level of care for occupants, for flight crew performing safety-critical operations, and for emergency situations.

The document does not include any medical criteria that would limit who should fly in space as a spaceflight participant. Medical consultation is recommended to inform spaceflight participants of risks and ensure they will not be a danger to other occupants, but FAA believes spaceflight participants should be free to make their own decisions about individual risk.

The current document focuses on avoiding injuries or fatalities, rather than long-term health effects. For that reason, exposure to ionizing-radiation is not included.

The complete recommendations can be downloaded here.

Written by Astro1 on September 16th, 2014 , Citizen Exploration, Space Medicine and Safety

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