NASA Range Safety Operations


The use of specific infrastructure as well as trained and certified human interfaces to monitor, command, and control the range safety elements associated with program flight / launch operations.

Range Safety OperationsPurpose

To ensure hazard areas for flight and launch activities are implemented to satisfy the range’s risk criteria.

Range Surveillance
The agreements, procedures, and instrumentation system used during the countdown to ensure range’s land, sea and airspace are clear for launch.

Countdown Procedures
Provides orderly, step-by-step scripting to reduce the amount of real-time judgement required.

Launch Commit Criteria / Mission Rules
Criteria and/or rules that must be met prior to final approval to launch.

Tasks Typically Performed by Range Safety Operations
Hazard Areas
- Publicize and implement hazard areas (NOAM/NTN)
- Provide surveillance
- Airspace, marine and space (collision avoidance)

Conducts launch countdown
Establishes range safety launch commit criteria and / or mission rules
Help establish weather launch commit criteria

Range Safety Officer functions
For example, during ELV launches, the RSO can take flight termination action if there is:
- Violation of established flight safety criteria (destruct line violation)
- Obvious erratic flight (e.g. tumbling vehicle)
- Unknown performance (e.g. loss of vehicle data)