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The Effect of Mission Assurance on ELV Launch Success Rate: An Analysis of Two Management Systems for Launch Vehicles Open Access

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There are significant challenges involved in regulating the growing commercial human spaceflight industry. The safety of the crew and passengers should be protected; however, care should be taken not to overburden the industry with too many or too stringent, or perhaps inapplicable, regulations.An improvement in launch success would improve the safety of the crew and passengers. This study explores the effectiveness of Mission Assurance policies to guide regulations and standards. There is a severe lack of data regarding commercial human space flights. This means that a direct test of effectiveness by looking at historical commercial human space flight data is not possible. Historical data on current expendable commercial launchers have been used in this study. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has strong Mission Assurance policies for its launch of civil payloads. The Office of Commercial Space Transportation at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA/AST) regulations of commercial launches are more safety oriented.A comparison of launches between NASA and the FAA/AST is used to gauge the effectiveness of Mission Assurance policies on launch success. Variables between the two agencies are reduced so that Mission Assurance policies are isolated as the main difference between launches. Scenarios pertinent to commercial human space flight are used so results can be applicable.

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