Closer ties between NASA and ESA safety organisations
Yesterday at NASA Headquarters, ESA’s Director of Manned Spaceflight and Microgravity Jörg Feustel-Buechl and NASA’s Associated Administrator-Office of Space Flight Frederick D. Gregory signed a charter establishing a closer relationship between the NASA and ESA payload safety panels.
The NASA Payload Safety Review Panel, originally chartered in 1977, has continuously supported the Shuttle and International Space Program Offices by interfacing with scientific and commercial users on safety issues and by certifying their equipment for flight.
ESA has operated with NASA for 20 years on Shuttle safety matters for European payloads. In 1995, ESA began performing safety reviews of European ISS payloads, on a project-to-project basis, as preliminary to NASA safety reviews.
The ESA ISS payload safety review process will be now organised on a permanent basis following the same NASA process template, with the aim of eliminating duplications of activities in the two Agencies. ESA and NASA will share their safety databases and will co-operate on the new process oversight. ESA and NASA have also agreed to the mutual recognition of their payload safety certificates for transportation to ISS on their respective vehicles.
This agreement will increase the efficiency and cost effectiveness of the overall ISS payload flight safety review process for both ESA and NASA. It will also further extend resident ESA safety expertise at its research centre in The Netherlands.