Thursday, April 26, 2012

How Safe Does a Rocket Have to Be?

How Safe Does a Rocket Have to Be?

IPinSpace, 25 April 2012

In order to regulate and monitor the space transportation industry and share the burden of this potential liability, commercial space launch companies must apply for and obtain launch licenses from the FAA. The FAA cannot permit a launch unless the total expected average number of casualties (Ec) for the launch and subsequent mission is less than .00003. In other words, the FAA cannot issue a launch permit through the traditional launch licensing process if there is a better than 30 in a million chance that people will be harmed by a commercial launch. The FAA has outlined the general methods for making Ec calculations, but sometimes launch vehicle operators and the FAA arrive at different Ec values.

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