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Streamlining Space Launch Range Safety
are relatively costly for individual users. Each user currently must develop or acquire hardware, prove that it meets safety requirements, demonstrate its compatibility with range support equipment, provide for qualification and acceptance testing, and support confidence checks in the final countdown.
Recommendation 4-2. AFSPC should form a range-industry team to define performance requirements and technical specifications for the onboard elements of a GPS receiver tracking system, including cost, weight, size, and power limitations, and to establish user requirements during the transition from radar to GPS-based tracking systems. A cost-shared government/industry project should be established for the development and qualification testing of common end-user equipment. Range users should pay for the recurring costs of onboard hardware.
Finding 4-4. With the incorporation of onboard GPS receivers, semiautonomous and fully autonomous flight termination systems would become technically feasible. These systems might substantially reduce range support costs, but additional research and testing is needed to resolve outstanding issues and quantify the likely benefits.
CHAPTER 5 Incursions
Finding 5-1. A limit of 1 × 10−5 for individual ship-hit probability, Pi, is reasonable and consistent with an Ec of 30 × 10−6. However, the use of collective risk in the Eastern Range ship exclusion process is not consistent with either the corresponding Western Range process or accepted guidelines for the evacuation of hazard areas, which are both based on individual risk. Aircraft avoidance criterion are not specified by EWR 127-1, are applied differently at the Eastern and Western Ranges, and are not supported by analyses showing that they are consistent with other range safety criteria.
Primary Recommendation on Risk Standards for Aircraft and Ships. AFSPC should apply the individual ship-hit criterion, Pi, of 1 × 10−6 to the ship exclusion process at the Eastern Range in the same way it is used at the Western Range. EWR 127-1 should be modified to specify an aircraft-hit Pi limit of 1 × 10−6 (properly calculated to include the probability of impact for very small pieces of debris). Prior to each launch, the range should establish aircraft hazard areas (based on the aircraft Pi) and buffer zones (for uncontrolled aircraft in the vicinity of the hazard area). Launches should be allowed to proceed as long as no intruder aircraft are in the hazard area or buffer zone.
Recommendation 5-1. AFSPC should determine maximum-acceptable blast overpressure limits and apply these limits to ship-hit calculations at both the Western and Eastern Ranges.
Finding 5-2. Detecting marine and aircraft intruders earlier and shortening the time required to clear them from the launch area would reduce disruptions, costs, and risks associated with launch holds and scrubs, especially at the Eastern Range where intruders are more of a problem.
Recommendation 5-2. AFSPC should expeditiously improve range surveillance and interdiction capabilities, as follows:
Use commercial aircraft equipped with suitable surveillance, navigation, communications, and image recording systems in place of military aircraft.
Implement the proposed Cape Canaveral Range Surveillance System (CRaSS) for surveillance and clearing of aircraft intruders at the Eastern Range.
Finding 5-3. Current guidelines and procedures for notifying operators of general aviation aircraft and small boats of active launch hazard areas do not prevent incursions, especially at the Eastern Range.
Recommendation 5-3. AFSPC should improve the launch communications and notification process, as follows:
Make greater use of public media, such as newspapers, radio and television broadcasts, the Internet, notices at public marinas and general aviation airports, and aviation and marine weather broadcasts.
Modify signs, lights, and other warning devices at marinas and along the coast, as necessary.
Inform the public on the extent of safe viewing areas to discourage operators of small boats and aircraft from encroaching on hazard areas.
Recommendation 5-4. In combination with efforts to improve surveillance and interdiction capabilities and the public notification process, AFSPC should aggressively enforce restrictions against intruders at both ranges to encourage compliance with launch notifications. In cooperation with the U.S. Coast Guard, the Federal Aviation Administration, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and other regulatory and law enforcement agencies, AFSPC should initiate administrative and regulatory changes to facilitate enforcement action against intruders who were afforded ample, timely launch notifications.