Saturday, April 14, 2012

FAA AST, Mike Kelly, Chief Engineer

The title of his talk was “Commercial Human Spaceflight: the Coming Safety Challenge.”  Michael is the Chief Engineer at the Office of Commercial Space Transportation of the FAA.  He listed some administration changes in the FAA. 

The FAA learning cycle for aviation was largely driven by responding accidents, in trying to understand what happened that caused people to die.  Michael asserted that rocket flight started thousands of years ago as a means of delivering weapons.  In 1960s we started delivering people.  Safety was a responsibility of the launch site.  In the past the safety of the crew and public has been a battle between several organizations.  Michael proposed the question can a single organization hold both in mind?
There has been about 6,000 space launches by major space powers, without a single human casualty in the uninvolved public.  (Ignoring some problems with China.)  The risk of experimental aviation to the uninvolved public started off low and grew over time.  The public grew used to it. 

There was a discussion of a flight termination process.  Under some situations some people are arguing for the ability to blow up a rocket.

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