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Commercial Crew Update: Human Rating Requirements Status, Dec. 2010


- Status of Documentation

› Commercial Crew Transportation System Requirements for NASA LEO Missions (PDF)

- Strategy of Documentation

- Request for Feedback

- Status of Documentation

In May 2010, NASA released to industry the first version of our commercial human rating requirements in a document entitled, Commercial Human Rating Plan (CHRP). We received extensive and valuable feedback on that document from industry, and we incorporated that feedback, along with refined NASA understanding and planning, into the next version of the document. When developing this updated version, NASA developed and adopted a concept known as crew transportation system (CTS) certification, as opposed to "human rating".

Consequently, the updated version of the CHRP document was renamed as Commercial Crew Transportation System Requirements for NASA LEO Missions – a document which provides a consolidated set of requirements, standards and processes that will be applied to the certification of a specific commercial crew transportation system for LEO missions. The Commercial Crew Transportation System Requirements for NASA LEO Missions document has been baselined by NASA and is now available to the public:

› Commercial Crew Transportation System Requirements for NASA LEO Missions (PDF)

In order to certify a CTS for the specific mission of ISS crew transportation, NASA is in the process of tailoring the requirements, standards, and processes for CTS certification contained in the Commercial Crew Transportation System Requirements for NASA LEO Missions into a specific set of programmatic requirements for the ISS crew transportation mission, which we refer to as the "1100-series" documents.

A partial release of the 1100-series documents was accomplished on October 25, 2010 in conjunction with the Commercial Crew Development Round 2 solicitation for proposals. On that date, NASA released two core 1100-series documents: 1) CCT-REQ-1130 International Space Station (ISS) Crew Transportation Certification and Services Requirements Document and 2) CCT-STD-1140 Commercial Crew Transportation Evaluation of Technical Standards. CCT-REQ-1130 provides industry with the NASA mandatory ISS crew transportation certification and services requirements while CCT-STD-1140 describes the technical, safety, and crew health & medical processes and specifications and the criteria that will be used by NASA to evaluate the acceptability of the proposed commercial design processes and specifications.

The three remaining 1100-series documents are: 1) CCT-PLN-1100 Commercial Crew Transportation Plan, 2) CCT-DRM-1110 Commercial Crew Transportation System Design Goals and 3) CCT-STD-1150 Commercial Crew Transportation Operations Standards. CCT-PLN-1100 establishes the roles and interfaces between NASA and industry and describes the necessary elements for achieving certification to transport NASA/NASA-sponsored crew members. CCT-GOAL-1110 provides the design reference missions and goals for a system to transport humans to and from ISS and other LEO destinations. CCT-STD-1150 establishes the ground and flight operations processes and specifications. The entire 1100-series documents will be made available for industry review and comment via a Request for Information (RFI) scheduled for early 2011.

We anticipate that the 1100-series documents will be revised and baselined by the end of March 2011. The baselined documents will be available for industry for use in support of any NASA competition activities for commercial crew development and demonstration.

- Strategy of Documentation

NASA's overarching strategy for the development of these documents is to ensure that the requirements are not overly burdensome and allow our Commercial Partners the maximum flexibility to develop safe and cost effective human space transportation systems. The 1100-series of documents are in draft form now and, as mentioned in the previous section, we are planning on releasing the documents via an RFI in January and incorporating the feedback we receive from industry before we initially baseline those documents in the Spring 2011.

There are some communities that feel more requirements are appropriate; others feel fewer requirements are better. NASA is attempting to balance these competing interests into the development of a set of documents that will enable our Commercial Partners to apply innovative solutions while leveraging NASA's extensive experience with respect to safe human spaceflight. The current 1100-series incorporates input from NASA's three Technical Authorities (Safety and Mission Assurance, Chief Engineer, and Health and Medical), the International Space Station Program, the Space Shuttle Program, the Launch Services Program, and the Commercial Crew Planning Office. We have spent upwards of thousands of labor hours working through the requirements in order to strike the best balance.

It should be noted that a simplistic "page count" of the 1100-series of documents does not reflect the quality of the requirements or the degree of difficulty in meeting them. The majority of the pages in CCT-REQ-1130 International Space Station (ISS) Crew Transportation Certification and Services Requirements Document are made of up "rationale" and verifications that NASA added to the actual requirements in order for industry to see the "intent" of our requirements and give them the flexibility to meet the requirements in innovative ways. This is a direct result of industry feedback we received from the first RFI we put out last May.

In comparison to the documents used for early NASA human spaceflight programs, such as Gemini, it may appear that the set of requirements has dramatically expanded. In some ways, it has. However, at the time the Gemini requirements were developed, the United States had accomplished only about a half dozen human spaceflights. We now have 50 years and over 150 human missions of experience to leverage in order to enhance the safety and success of any future human space transportation program.

Another point of comparison is NASA's Launch Services Program (LSP). The LSP model was one of the inputs used by the Commercial Crew Planning Office in establishing its strategy for insight/oversight and safety. While the LSP model is excellent for its purposes, it has some clear distinctions from commercial crew that make wholesale adoption of the LSP approach to commercial crew unworkable. The primary difference is the LSP is not a development program, it is a services program. All the launch vehicles used by LSP were developed according to some standards and requirements, mostly Air Force and DOD requirements and standards.

However, the Air Force and DOD do not have "human" spaceflight requirements and standards. Only NASA has those and we have to make those requirements and standards available to the Commercial Providers to guide their design and development efforts. We are scrubbing those requirements to ensure they are truly necessary and we are allowing industry to substitute their standards in many instances. Successful spaceflight systems today use a pedigree of requirements and standards developed and adapted throughout spaceflight history.