Waiver of Acceptable Risk Restriction for Launch and Reentry, 24556-24558 [2012-9737]

Download as PDF mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 24556 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 79 / Tuesday, April 24, 2012 / Notices Section 203(f) of the ATPA (19 U.S.C. 3202(f)) requires the USTR, not later than June 30, 2012, to submit to Congress a report on the operation of the ATPA. Before submitting such report, USTR is required to request comments on whether beneficiary countries are meeting the criteria set forth in 19 U.S.C. 3203(b)(6)(B) (which incorporates by reference the criteria set forth in sections 3202(c) and (d)). USTR refers interested parties to the Federal Register notice published on August 15, 2002 (67 FR 53379), for a full list of the eligibility criteria. Public Comment Requirements for Submissions: Persons submitting written comments must do so in English and must identify (on the first page of the submission) ‘‘USTR Report on Operation of the Andean Trade Preference Act.’’ Persons may submit public comments electronically to www.regulations.gov docket number USTR–2012–0006. In order to be assured of consideration, comments should be submitted by noon, May 22, 2012. To submit comments via www.regulations.gov, enter docket number USTR–2012–0006 on the home page and click ‘‘search.’’ The site will provide a search-results page listing all documents associated with this docket. Find a reference to this notice by selecting ‘‘Notice’’ under ‘‘Document Type’’ on the left side of the searchresults page, and click on the link entitled ‘‘Submit a Comment.’’ (For further information on using the www.regulations.gov Web site, please consult the resources provided on the Web site by clicking on ‘‘How to Use This Site’’ on the left side of the home page.) The www.regulations.gov site provides the option of providing comments by filling in a ‘‘Type Comments’’ field, or by attaching a document using an ‘‘Upload File’’ field. It is expected that most comments will be provided in an attached document. If a document is attached, it is sufficient to type ‘‘see attached’’ in the ‘‘Type Comments’’ field. A person requesting that information contained in a comment submitted by that person be treated as confidential business information must certify that such information is business confidential and would not customarily be released to the public by the submitter. Confidential business information must be clearly designated as such and the submission must be marked ‘‘BUSINESS CONFIDENTIAL’’ at the top and bottom of the cover page and each succeeding page. Any comment containing business VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:40 Apr 23, 2012 Jkt 226001 confidential information must be submitted by fax to Bennett Harman at (202) 395–9675. A non-confidential summary of the confidential information must be submitted to www.regulations.gov. The nonconfidential summary will be placed in the docket and open to public inspection. Information or advice contained in a comment submitted, other than business confidential information, may be determined by USTR to be confidential in accordance with section 135(g)(2) of the Trade Act of 1974 (19 U.S.C. 2155(g)(2). If the submitter believes that information or advice may qualify as such, the submitter— (1) Must clearly so designate the information or advice; (2) Must clearly mark the material as ‘‘SUBMITTED IN CONFIDENCE’’ at the top and bottom of the cover page and each succeeding page; and (3) Must provide a non-confidential summary of the information or advice. Any comment containing confidential information must be submitted by fax. A non-confidential summary of the confidential information must be submitted to www.regulations.gov. The non-confidential summary will be placed in the docket and open to public inspection. Please do not attach separate cover letters to electronic submissions; rather, include any information that might appear in a cover letter in the comments themselves. Similarly, to the extent possible, please include any exhibits, annexes, or other attachments in the same file as the submission itself, not as separate files. USTR strongly urges submitters to file comments through www.regulations.gov, if at all possible. Any alternative arrangements must be made with Bennett Harman in advance of transmitting a comment. Mr. Harman should be contacted at (202) 395–9446. General information concerning USTR is available at http://www.ustr.gov. Inspection of Submissions: Submissions in response to this notice, except for information granted ‘‘business confidential’’ status, will be available for public viewing at http:// www.regulations.gov. Such submissions may be viewed by entering the docket number USTR–2012–0006 in the search field at: http://www.regulations.gov. Douglas Bell, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Trade Policy & Economics. [FR Doc. 2012–9838 Filed 4–23–12; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P PO 00000 Frm 00102 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration Waiver of Acceptable Risk Restriction for Launch and Reentry Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT. ACTION: Notice of waiver. AGENCY: This notice concerns two petitions for waiver submitted to the FAA by Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX): a petition to waive the restriction that the risk to the public from the launch of an expendable launch vehicle not exceed an expected average number of 0.00003 casualties (Ec ≤30 × 10¥6) from debris; and a petition to waive the restriction that the combined risk to the public from the launch and reentry of a reentry vehicle not exceed an expected average number of 0.00003 casualties (Ec ≤30 × 10¥6). The FAA grants both petitions. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For technical questions concerning this waiver, contact Charles P. Brinkman, Licensing Program Lead, Commercial Space Transportation—Licensing and Evaluation Division, 800 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20591; telephone: (202) 267–7715; email: Phil.Brinkman@faa.gov. For legal questions concerning this waiver, contact Laura Montgomery, Senior Attorney for Commercial Space Transportation, AGC–200, Office of the Chief Counsel, Regulations Division, Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20591; telephone (202) 267–3150; email: Laura.Montgomery@faa.gov. SUMMARY: SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background On August 12, 2011, SpaceX submitted a petition, which it updated on February 9, 2012, to the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST) requesting two waivers with respect to launch and reentry licenses for flight 003 of a Falcon 9 launch vehicle (Falcon 9 003) carrying a Dragon reentry vehicle. First, SpaceX requested a waiver of 14 CFR 417.107(b)(1), which prohibits the launch of an expendable launch vehicle if the total expected average number of casualties (Ec) for the launch exceeds 0.00003 for risk from debris. Second, SpaceX requested a waiver of 14 CFR 431.35(b)(1)(i),1 which prohibits a 1 Even though Dragon is a reentry vehicle and not a reusable launch vehicle, 14 CFR 435.35 E:\FR\FM\24APN1.SGM 24APN1 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 79 / Tuesday, April 24, 2012 / Notices mission involving a reentry vehicle when the Ec for both the launch and reentry together (referred to as a ‘‘mission’’ for purposes of part 431) exceeds 0.00003 for debris. The FAA licenses the launch of a launch vehicle and reentry of a reentry vehicle under authority granted to the Secretary of Transportation in the Commercial Space Launch Act of 1984, as amended and re-codified by 51 U.S.C. Subtitle V, chapter 509 (Chapter 509), and delegated to the FAA Administrator and the Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation, who exercises licensing authority under Chapter 509. SpaceX is a private commercial space flight company. It has entered into a Space Act Agreement with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as part of NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program. The COTS program is designed to stimulate efforts by the private sector to demonstrate safe, reliable, and cost-effective space transportation to the International Space Station. Currently, no domestic U.S. companies or entities provide transportation or supplies to the International Space Station. The petition addresses an upcoming demonstration flight that SpaceX plans to undertake as part of the COTS program. This flight is a long-duration cargo mission to the International Space Station to demonstrate flight and berthing capabilities. SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launch vehicle will launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and deploy SpaceX’s reentry vehicle, Dragon, once on orbit. Once Dragon is on orbit, it will be subjected to a ground-implemented health check. The health check is designed to check time-dependent variables to ensure the health and functionality of the propulsion, power, and other safety critical subsystems. Once Dragon passes the health check and completes orbital phasing by firing its onboard thrusters, it will berth with the International Space Station. After a period of time determined by NASA, Dragon will depart from the International Space Station. When SpaceX issues a ground command or Dragon passes its onboard health check, Dragon will conduct a guided reentry to land in the Pacific Ocean. The FAA advised SpaceX that the preliminary calculation of Ec for both the launch and the entire mission exceeded the 0.00003 limit imposed by section 417.107(b)(1) and section incorporates and applies section 431.35 to all reentry vehicles. VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:40 Apr 23, 2012 Jkt 226001 431.35(b)(1)(i). SpaceX, therefore, seeks a waiver of these risk requirements. Waiver Criteria Chapter 509 allows the FAA to waive a license requirement if the waiver (1) will not jeopardize public health and safety, safety of property; (2) will not jeopardize national security and foreign policy interests of the United States; and (3) will be in the public interest. 51 U.S.C. 50905(b)(3) (2011); 14 CFR 404.5(b) (2011). Sections 417.107(b)(1) and 431.35(b)(1)(i) Waiver Petition Section 417.107(b)(1) prohibits the launch of a launch vehicle if the total Ec for the launch exceeds 0.00003. Section 431.35(b)(1)(i) prohibits a launch and reentry mission if the total Ec for that mission exceeds 0.00003. For reasons described below, the FAA waives the restrictions in section 417.107(b)(1) and section 431.35(b)(1)(i) to allow SpaceX to conduct a mission whose total Ec is currently calculated to be between approximately 0.000098 and 0.000121. The lowest number in the range accounts for a nighttime launch and the upper number accounts for a daytime launch. The FAA recognizes that any estimate of the Ec for the F9–003 launch includes substantial uncertainties, and that the risk number computed on the day of launch may be different from the current range listed above. In order to account for the potential variation in the Ec for the F9–003 computed on the day of launch, the FAA will allow SpaceX to conduct a mission where launch risk does not exceed 0.00013. A. Launch of the Falcon 9 Vehicle The FAA waives the debris risk requirement of section 417.107(b)(1) because the Falcon 9 003 launch will not jeopardize public health and safety or safety of property, a national security or foreign policy interest of the United States, and is in the public interest. i. Public Health and Safety and Safety of Property The Falcon 9 003 launch is the first launch for which the FAA has ever waived the Ec requirement of 0.00003 for launch. The 45th Space Wing Range Safety calculated the collective risk to the public from the Falcon 9 003 launch to be between approximately 0.000098 and 0.000121. The low end of this calculation is less than the 0.0001 expected casualty criterion used by NASA, the United States Air Force, and other U.S. National Test Ranges. See U.S. Air Force Instruction 91–217, Space Safety and Mishap Prevention Program (2010); NASA Procedural PO 00000 Frm 00103 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 24557 Requirements 8715.5 Rev A, Range Flight Safety Program (2010); Range Commanders Council (RCC) Standard 321–10, Common Risk Criteria Standards for National Test Ranges (2010). The increase in the Ec for this third launch of the Falcon 9 is largely attributable to two factors. First, the launch will follow a specific trajectory to reach the International Space Station. In order to place Dragon in the correct orbit, and accounting for Falcon 9’s launch location of Cape Canaveral, Falcon 9 must take a flight path that overflies more populated areas than the first two flights, and thus results in a higher Ec. Second, the FAA’s regulations identify a large credible range of relatively high values for the estimated probability of failure to the launch vehicle based on the small number of launches the Falcon 9 has completed. See Table A417–3 Launch Vehicle Failure Probability Reference Estimates and Confidence Bounds of [Vehicles] with Two or More Flights, 14 CFR part 417, App. A. This probability of failure is one of the most critical variables in the Ec calculations. The flight path for the Falcon 9 is severely constrained by the mission objectives and the propellant available in the Falcon 9 and Dragon. Desired mission objectives include navigation to, and berthing with the International Space Station. Preliminary objectives include a demonstration of the Dragon’s motion control, which is accomplished through controlled firing of onboard thrusters. This demonstration is comprehensive in nature to ensure safe approach and berthing with the International Space Station, utilizing considerable fuel. In order to meet all Dragon objectives, including de-orbit burns and a reasonable fuel reserve, the launch vehicle trajectory must place the Dragon in an initial location such that it has adequate fuel for all mission objectives. This mission intends to demonstrate orbital control capability for the Dragon capsule. Should this objective be successfully demonstrated, future Dragon missions to the International Space Station will not require further demonstrations of on-orbit navigational control. Additionally, the Dragon fuel requirements will be lower, and therefore the required launch vehicle trajectory will result in a lower Ec. The current Ec requirement for government launches from U.S. National Test Ranges is 0.0001, which, because it comprises debris, toxics, and overpressure, means that the federal launch ranges can permit the risk attributable to debris to exceed the FAA’s risk threshold. See Air Force E:\FR\FM\24APN1.SGM 24APN1 24558 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 79 / Tuesday, April 24, 2012 / Notices Instruction 91–217, Space Safety and Mishap Prevention Program (2010). The U.S. Air Force approved a government launch of a Titan, where the risk ranged from 145 to 317 in a million. Dept. of the Air Force Memorandum, Overflight Risk Exceedance Waiver for Titan IV B– 30 Mission, (Apr. 4, 2005). That risk was mainly attributable to downrange overflight, as is the case for the Falcon 9 launch. Additionally, of historical interest, during Space Shuttle launches debris risk routinely exceeded U.S. Air Force and FAA established risk criteria, mainly due to a large number of visitors on Kennedy Space Center property. The FAA notes that the F9–003 launch is a NASA-sponsored mission, flying a similar trajectory as previous Space Shuttle missions going to the International Space Station. The FAA also notes that the Ec for the F9–003 launch, as currently calculated, may exceed the Ec requirement for government launches from U.S. Government ranges, but only by a small amount relative to the modeling and input data uncertainties, particularly the probability of failure. Based on this uncertainty, as well as the fact that Falcon 9’s Ec is smaller than that of a Space Shuttle and is close to the requirement for government launches, granting a waiver in this case would not jeopardize public health and safety or safety of property. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES ii. National Security and Foreign Policy Implications The FAA has identified no national security or foreign policy implications associated with granting this waiver. iii. Public Interest The waiver is consistent with the public interest goals of Chapter 509. Three of the public policy goals of Chapter 509 are: (1) To promote economic growth and entrepreneurial activity through use of the space environment; (2) to encourage the United States private sector to provide launch and reentry vehicles and associated services; and (3) to facilitate the strengthening and expansion of the United States space transportation infrastructure to support the full range of United States space-related activities. See 51 U.S.C. 50901(b)(1), (2), (4). Additionally, in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and the Final Rule for Commercial Space Transportation Licensing Requirements, the FAA contemplated launches carrying government payloads for a critical national need exceeding the Ec requirements. Commercial Space Transportation Licensing Regulations, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 62 FR VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:40 Apr 23, 2012 Jkt 226001 13230 (Mar. 19, 1997). The Final Rule noted that, as recognized in the NPRM, commercial launches may carry government payloads, and a waiver of the risk requirement might be warranted. Commercial Space Transportation Licensing Regulations, Final Rule, 64 FR 19605 (Apr. 21, 1999). With the elimination of the Space Shuttle Program, the U.S. is seeking other means of reaching the International Space Station. NASA is using the COTS Program to develop the capability to resupply the International Space Station. There currently exists a need for additional means to supply the International Space Station. To date, the Russian Soyuz-U rocket,2 European ATV and the Japanese HTV foreign vehicles have demonstrated the capability to provide supplies to the International Space Station. The COTS Program exists to provide a reliable, domestic capability for supplying the International Space Station, the importance of which is highlighted by the recent Russian failure. SpaceX’s demonstrated capability to connect with the International Space Station would further the public interest in the U.S. ability to transit to, and support the ISS. The FAA notes that currently there is no domestic capability to supply the International Space Station, and has taken this fact into account when determining the public interest. The COTS Program was established to develop a robust domestic commercial space transportation capability. This capability would provide the United States with the ability to resupply the International Space Station. As such, granting SpaceX’s waiver request is consistent with Chapter 509’s policy goals because it: (1) Promotes SpaceX’s entrepreneurial activity in the space environment; (2) encourages SpaceX, a private U.S. company, to develop and launch new launch and reentry vehicles; and (3) facilitates the expansion of the United States space transportation infrastructure by sustaining NASA’s COTS program. B. Reentry of the Dragon Capsule SpaceX’s request for a waiver of the requirements in section 431.35(b)(1)(i) raises the same issues as its previous request for waiver of mission risk for the Falcon 9 002 launch and reentry of 2 On August 24, 2011, a Soyuz rocket engine carrying a Progress resupply ship to the International Space Station failed. This failure delayed a mission to provide supplies to the people working at the International Space Station, including U.S. astronauts. The Russians resolved this issue and successfully launched the Soyuz-U on October 30, 2011. On November 2, 2011, an M– 13M cargo ship successfully berthed with the International Space Station. PO 00000 Frm 00104 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Dragon. For the reasons stated in a previous Waiver of Acceptable Mission Risk Restriction for Reentry and a Reentry Vehicle, 75 FR 75619 (Dec. 6, 2010) the FAA is waiving the requirements of section 431.35(b)(1)(i) for the Falcon 9 003 launch and reentry of Dragon. Issued in Washington, DC, on April 17, 2012. Kenneth Wong, Licensing and Evaluation Division Manager, Commercial Space Transportation. [FR Doc. 2012–9737 Filed 4–23–12; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–13–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Maritime Administration [Docket No. MARAD 2012 0043] Requested Administrative Waiver of the Coastwise Trade Laws: Vessel STEPPIN UP; Invitation for Public Comments Maritime Administration, DOT. Notice. AGENCY: ACTION: As authorized by 46 U.S.C. 12121, the Secretary of Transportation, as represented by the Maritime Administration (MARAD), is authorized to grant waivers of the U.S.-build requirement of the coastwise laws under certain circumstances. A request for such a waiver has been received by MARAD. The vessel, and a brief description of the proposed service, is listed below. DATES: Submit comments on or before May 24, 2012. ADDRESSES: Comments should refer to docket number MARAD–2012 0043. Written comments may be submitted by hand or by mail to the Docket Clerk, U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M–30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590. You may also send comments electronically via the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov. All comments will become part of this docket and will be available for inspection and copying at the above address between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., E.T., Monday through Friday, except federal holidays. An electronic version of this document and all documents entered into this docket is available on the World Wide Web at http:// www.regulations.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Joann Spittle, U.S. Department of Transportation, Maritime Administration, 1200 New Jersey SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\24APN1.SGM 24APN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 79 (Tuesday, April 24, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 24556-24558]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-9737]


=======================================================================
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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration


Waiver of Acceptable Risk Restriction for Launch and Reentry

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice of waiver.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: This notice concerns two petitions for waiver submitted to the 
FAA by Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX): a petition to 
waive the restriction that the risk to the public from the launch of an 
expendable launch vehicle not exceed an expected average number of 
0.00003 casualties (Ec <=30 x 10-6) from debris; 
and a petition to waive the restriction that the combined risk to the 
public from the launch and reentry of a reentry vehicle not exceed an 
expected average number of 0.00003 casualties (Ec <=30 x 
10-6). The FAA grants both petitions.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For technical questions concerning 
this waiver, contact Charles P. Brinkman, Licensing Program Lead, 
Commercial Space Transportation--Licensing and Evaluation Division, 800 
Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20591; telephone: (202) 267-
7715; email: Phil.Brinkman@faa.gov. For legal questions concerning this 
waiver, contact Laura Montgomery, Senior Attorney for Commercial Space 
Transportation, AGC-200, Office of the Chief Counsel, Regulations 
Division, Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue SW., 
Washington, DC 20591; telephone (202) 267-3150; email: 
Laura.Montgomery@faa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    On August 12, 2011, SpaceX submitted a petition, which it updated 
on February 9, 2012, to the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA's) 
Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST) requesting two waivers 
with respect to launch and reentry licenses for flight 003 of a Falcon 
9 launch vehicle (Falcon 9 003) carrying a Dragon reentry vehicle. 
First, SpaceX requested a waiver of 14 CFR 417.107(b)(1), which 
prohibits the launch of an expendable launch vehicle if the total 
expected average number of casualties (Ec) for the launch 
exceeds 0.00003 for risk from debris. Second, SpaceX requested a waiver 
of 14 CFR 431.35(b)(1)(i),\1\ which prohibits a

[[Page 24557]]

mission involving a reentry vehicle when the Ec for both the 
launch and reentry together (referred to as a ``mission'' for purposes 
of part 431) exceeds 0.00003 for debris.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ Even though Dragon is a reentry vehicle and not a reusable 
launch vehicle, 14 CFR 435.35 incorporates and applies section 
431.35 to all reentry vehicles.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The FAA licenses the launch of a launch vehicle and reentry of a 
reentry vehicle under authority granted to the Secretary of 
Transportation in the Commercial Space Launch Act of 1984, as amended 
and re-codified by 51 U.S.C. Subtitle V, chapter 509 (Chapter 509), and 
delegated to the FAA Administrator and the Associate Administrator for 
Commercial Space Transportation, who exercises licensing authority 
under Chapter 509.
    SpaceX is a private commercial space flight company. It has entered 
into a Space Act Agreement with the National Aeronautics and Space 
Administration (NASA) as part of NASA's Commercial Orbital 
Transportation Services (COTS) program. The COTS program is designed to 
stimulate efforts by the private sector to demonstrate safe, reliable, 
and cost-effective space transportation to the International Space 
Station. Currently, no domestic U.S. companies or entities provide 
transportation or supplies to the International Space Station.
    The petition addresses an upcoming demonstration flight that SpaceX 
plans to undertake as part of the COTS program. This flight is a long-
duration cargo mission to the International Space Station to 
demonstrate flight and berthing capabilities. SpaceX's Falcon 9 launch 
vehicle will launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and deploy 
SpaceX's reentry vehicle, Dragon, once on orbit. Once Dragon is on 
orbit, it will be subjected to a ground-implemented health check. The 
health check is designed to check time-dependent variables to ensure 
the health and functionality of the propulsion, power, and other safety 
critical subsystems. Once Dragon passes the health check and completes 
orbital phasing by firing its onboard thrusters, it will berth with the 
International Space Station. After a period of time determined by NASA, 
Dragon will depart from the International Space Station. When SpaceX 
issues a ground command or Dragon passes its onboard health check, 
Dragon will conduct a guided reentry to land in the Pacific Ocean.
    The FAA advised SpaceX that the preliminary calculation of 
Ec for both the launch and the entire mission exceeded the 
0.00003 limit imposed by section 417.107(b)(1) and section 
431.35(b)(1)(i). SpaceX, therefore, seeks a waiver of these risk 
requirements.

Waiver Criteria

    Chapter 509 allows the FAA to waive a license requirement if the 
waiver (1) will not jeopardize public health and safety, safety of 
property; (2) will not jeopardize national security and foreign policy 
interests of the United States; and (3) will be in the public interest. 
51 U.S.C. 50905(b)(3) (2011); 14 CFR 404.5(b) (2011).

Sections 417.107(b)(1) and 431.35(b)(1)(i) Waiver Petition

    Section 417.107(b)(1) prohibits the launch of a launch vehicle if 
the total Ec for the launch exceeds 0.00003. Section 
431.35(b)(1)(i) prohibits a launch and reentry mission if the total 
Ec for that mission exceeds 0.00003. For reasons described 
below, the FAA waives the restrictions in section 417.107(b)(1) and 
section 431.35(b)(1)(i) to allow SpaceX to conduct a mission whose 
total Ec is currently calculated to be between approximately 
0.000098 and 0.000121. The lowest number in the range accounts for a 
nighttime launch and the upper number accounts for a daytime launch. 
The FAA recognizes that any estimate of the Ec for the F9-
003 launch includes substantial uncertainties, and that the risk number 
computed on the day of launch may be different from the current range 
listed above. In order to account for the potential variation in the 
Ec for the F9-003 computed on the day of launch, the FAA 
will allow SpaceX to conduct a mission where launch risk does not 
exceed 0.00013.

A. Launch of the Falcon 9 Vehicle

    The FAA waives the debris risk requirement of section 417.107(b)(1) 
because the Falcon 9 003 launch will not jeopardize public health and 
safety or safety of property, a national security or foreign policy 
interest of the United States, and is in the public interest.
i. Public Health and Safety and Safety of Property
    The Falcon 9 003 launch is the first launch for which the FAA has 
ever waived the Ec requirement of 0.00003 for launch. The 
45th Space Wing Range Safety calculated the collective risk to the 
public from the Falcon 9 003 launch to be between approximately 
0.000098 and 0.000121. The low end of this calculation is less than the 
0.0001 expected casualty criterion used by NASA, the United States Air 
Force, and other U.S. National Test Ranges. See U.S. Air Force 
Instruction 91-217, Space Safety and Mishap Prevention Program (2010); 
NASA Procedural Requirements 8715.5 Rev A, Range Flight Safety Program 
(2010); Range Commanders Council (RCC) Standard 321-10, Common Risk 
Criteria Standards for National Test Ranges (2010). The increase in the 
Ec for this third launch of the Falcon 9 is largely 
attributable to two factors. First, the launch will follow a specific 
trajectory to reach the International Space Station. In order to place 
Dragon in the correct orbit, and accounting for Falcon 9's launch 
location of Cape Canaveral, Falcon 9 must take a flight path that 
overflies more populated areas than the first two flights, and thus 
results in a higher Ec. Second, the FAA's regulations 
identify a large credible range of relatively high values for the 
estimated probability of failure to the launch vehicle based on the 
small number of launches the Falcon 9 has completed. See Table A417-3 
Launch Vehicle Failure Probability Reference Estimates and Confidence 
Bounds of [Vehicles] with Two or More Flights, 14 CFR part 417, App. A. 
This probability of failure is one of the most critical variables in 
the Ec calculations.
    The flight path for the Falcon 9 is severely constrained by the 
mission objectives and the propellant available in the Falcon 9 and 
Dragon. Desired mission objectives include navigation to, and berthing 
with the International Space Station. Preliminary objectives include a 
demonstration of the Dragon's motion control, which is accomplished 
through controlled firing of onboard thrusters. This demonstration is 
comprehensive in nature to ensure safe approach and berthing with the 
International Space Station, utilizing considerable fuel. In order to 
meet all Dragon objectives, including de-orbit burns and a reasonable 
fuel reserve, the launch vehicle trajectory must place the Dragon in an 
initial location such that it has adequate fuel for all mission 
objectives.
    This mission intends to demonstrate orbital control capability for 
the Dragon capsule. Should this objective be successfully demonstrated, 
future Dragon missions to the International Space Station will not 
require further demonstrations of on-orbit navigational control. 
Additionally, the Dragon fuel requirements will be lower, and therefore 
the required launch vehicle trajectory will result in a lower 
Ec.
    The current Ec requirement for government launches from 
U.S. National Test Ranges is 0.0001, which, because it comprises 
debris, toxics, and overpressure, means that the federal launch ranges 
can permit the risk attributable to debris to exceed the FAA's risk 
threshold. See Air Force

[[Page 24558]]

Instruction 91-217, Space Safety and Mishap Prevention Program (2010). 
The U.S. Air Force approved a government launch of a Titan, where the 
risk ranged from 145 to 317 in a million. Dept. of the Air Force 
Memorandum, Overflight Risk Exceedance Waiver for Titan IV B-30 
Mission, (Apr. 4, 2005). That risk was mainly attributable to downrange 
overflight, as is the case for the Falcon 9 launch. Additionally, of 
historical interest, during Space Shuttle launches debris risk 
routinely exceeded U.S. Air Force and FAA established risk criteria, 
mainly due to a large number of visitors on Kennedy Space Center 
property. The FAA notes that the F9-003 launch is a NASA-sponsored 
mission, flying a similar trajectory as previous Space Shuttle missions 
going to the International Space Station. The FAA also notes that the 
Ec for the F9-003 launch, as currently calculated, may 
exceed the Ec requirement for government launches from U.S. 
Government ranges, but only by a small amount relative to the modeling 
and input data uncertainties, particularly the probability of failure. 
Based on this uncertainty, as well as the fact that Falcon 9's 
Ec is smaller than that of a Space Shuttle and is close to 
the requirement for government launches, granting a waiver in this case 
would not jeopardize public health and safety or safety of property.
ii. National Security and Foreign Policy Implications
    The FAA has identified no national security or foreign policy 
implications associated with granting this waiver.
iii. Public Interest
    The waiver is consistent with the public interest goals of Chapter 
509. Three of the public policy goals of Chapter 509 are: (1) To 
promote economic growth and entrepreneurial activity through use of the 
space environment; (2) to encourage the United States private sector to 
provide launch and reentry vehicles and associated services; and (3) to 
facilitate the strengthening and expansion of the United States space 
transportation infrastructure to support the full range of United 
States space-related activities. See 51 U.S.C. 50901(b)(1), (2), (4). 
Additionally, in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and the Final Rule 
for Commercial Space Transportation Licensing Requirements, the FAA 
contemplated launches carrying government payloads for a critical 
national need exceeding the Ec requirements. Commercial 
Space Transportation Licensing Regulations, Notice of Proposed 
Rulemaking, 62 FR 13230 (Mar. 19, 1997). The Final Rule noted that, as 
recognized in the NPRM, commercial launches may carry government 
payloads, and a waiver of the risk requirement might be warranted. 
Commercial Space Transportation Licensing Regulations, Final Rule, 64 
FR 19605 (Apr. 21, 1999).
    With the elimination of the Space Shuttle Program, the U.S. is 
seeking other means of reaching the International Space Station. NASA 
is using the COTS Program to develop the capability to resupply the 
International Space Station. There currently exists a need for 
additional means to supply the International Space Station. To date, 
the Russian Soyuz-U rocket,\2\ European ATV and the Japanese HTV 
foreign vehicles have demonstrated the capability to provide supplies 
to the International Space Station. The COTS Program exists to provide 
a reliable, domestic capability for supplying the International Space 
Station, the importance of which is highlighted by the recent Russian 
failure. SpaceX's demonstrated capability to connect with the 
International Space Station would further the public interest in the 
U.S. ability to transit to, and support the ISS. The FAA notes that 
currently there is no domestic capability to supply the International 
Space Station, and has taken this fact into account when determining 
the public interest.
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    \2\ On August 24, 2011, a Soyuz rocket engine carrying a 
Progress resupply ship to the International Space Station failed. 
This failure delayed a mission to provide supplies to the people 
working at the International Space Station, including U.S. 
astronauts. The Russians resolved this issue and successfully 
launched the Soyuz-U on October 30, 2011. On November 2, 2011, an M-
13M cargo ship successfully berthed with the International Space 
Station.
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    The COTS Program was established to develop a robust domestic 
commercial space transportation capability. This capability would 
provide the United States with the ability to resupply the 
International Space Station. As such, granting SpaceX's waiver request 
is consistent with Chapter 509's policy goals because it: (1) Promotes 
SpaceX's entrepreneurial activity in the space environment; (2) 
encourages SpaceX, a private U.S. company, to develop and launch new 
launch and reentry vehicles; and (3) facilitates the expansion of the 
United States space transportation infrastructure by sustaining NASA's 
COTS program.

B. Reentry of the Dragon Capsule

    SpaceX's request for a waiver of the requirements in section 
431.35(b)(1)(i) raises the same issues as its previous request for 
waiver of mission risk for the Falcon 9 002 launch and reentry of 
Dragon. For the reasons stated in a previous Waiver of Acceptable 
Mission Risk Restriction for Reentry and a Reentry Vehicle, 75 FR 75619 
(Dec. 6, 2010) the FAA is waiving the requirements of section 
431.35(b)(1)(i) for the Falcon 9 003 launch and reentry of Dragon.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on April 17, 2012.
Kenneth Wong,
Licensing and Evaluation Division Manager, Commercial Space 
Transportation.
[FR Doc. 2012-9737 Filed 4-23-12; 8:45 am]
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