Waiver of Autonomous Reentry Restriction for a Reentry Vehicle, 13375-13377 [2014-05136]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 46 / Monday, March 10, 2014 / Notices northerly airport property line located easterly of Pinewald-Keswick Road. The County of Ocean also requests the release of real property totaling 19.26 acres in addition to the granting of an access easement right of way on same parcels for use as spoil storage area and a dog park. Parcel 3 (Highway Department Spoil Area) consists of 16.52 acres located within the Township of Lacey. The parcel consists of a rectangular parcel 1200 feet long by 600 feet wide adjacent and at right angles to the Lacey Township line. The east corner of the parcel is located 145 feet southeast of the centerline of the existing sand entry road to the spoil area. Parcel 4 (Dog Park) consists of 2.74 acres located within the Township of Berkeley. The perimeter of this parcel is located 10 feet outside of the existing dog park fence line. The south line of the parcel is 20 feet north of the centerline of the existing airport access road pavement. As shown on the Airport Layout Plan (ALP), the above describe properties do not serve an aeronautical purpose and are not needed for airport development. No AIP funds were used to purchase the parcels to be released. All of the parcels were acquired through either condemnation or fee simple purchase with County funds. The ALP will be updated to show the new airport property boundary. The airport property will be released to the County and will remain County owned. Any person may inspect the request by appointment at the FAA office address listed above. Interested persons are invited to comment on the proposed lease. All comments will be considered by the FAA to the extent practicable. Issued in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, February 28, 2014. Lori K. Pagnanelli, Manager, Harrisburg Airports District Office. [FR Doc. 2014–05148 Filed 3–7–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–13–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration Waiver of Autonomous Reentry Restriction for a Reentry Vehicle Office of Commercial Space Transportation; Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT. ACTION: Notice of waiver. emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with NOTICES AGENCY: This notice concerns three petitions for waiver related to the launch and reentry of an Orion MultiPurpose Crew Vehicle. In the first of these petitions, United Launch Alliance SUMMARY: VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:00 Mar 07, 2014 Jkt 232001 (ULA) requested a waiver of the FAA’s requirement that the expected number of casualties for a launch not exceed 0.00003 casualties (Ec ≤ 30 × 10¥6) from debris. For the second and third petitions, Lockheed Martin (Lockheed) requested waivers of the FAA’s regulatory requirements that (1) the expected number of casualties for the entire mission, including launch and reentry, not exceed 30 × 10¥6 casualties from debris; and (2) an operator only initiate reentry of a reentry vehicle by command. The FAA elects to consider all three petitions together because all three involve the same essential facts and risk analyses. The FAA grants all three petitions. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For technical questions concerning this waiver, contact Charles P. Brinkman, Aerospace Engineer, AST–200, Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST), Federal Aviation Administration, 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, Manager, Space Law Branch (AGC–250), Regulations Division, Office of the Chief Counsel, Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20591; telephone (202) 267–3150; email: laura.montgomery@faa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background Lockheed and ULA are private commercial space flight companies. Lockheed entered into a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to provide the first orbital flight test for NASA’s Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle Program. Lockheed has contracted with ULA to provide launch services for the mission. The FAA is responsible for licensing, in relevant part, the launch of a launch vehicle and the reentry of a reentry vehicle, under authority granted to the Secretary of Transportation by 51 USC Subtitle V, chapter 509 (Chapter 509), and delegated to the FAA’s Administrator and Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation. The mission at issue in this notice is Orion Exploration Flight Test 1, launching from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The mission tests the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle in an un-crewed, limitedcapability configuration, and serves as a stepping stone towards a crew-capable vehicle that would enable human exploration missions beyond Earth PO 00000 Frm 00104 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 13375 orbit. The mission is comprised of a launch, which is conducted by ULA, and a reentry, which is conducted by Lockheed. The launch vehicle is ULA’s Delta IV Heavy launch vehicle, which consists of a Common Booster Core (CBC) as the first stage with two additional strap-on CBCs and a Delta IV Cryogenic Second Stage (DCSS). The first burn of the DCSS places the Orion and the DCSS in orbit, and a second DCSS burn places the Orion into a highly elliptical, negative-perigee trajectory, to simulate the thermal conditions and high reentry speeds the module would experience returning from missions beyond Earth orbit. After separating from the DCSS, the Orion module reenters over the eastern Pacific Ocean, splashing down 231 nautical miles west of Baja California, Mexico. Section 417.107(b)(1) of Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) prohibits the launch of a launch vehicle if the expected casualty (Ec) for the flight exceeds 30 × 10¥6 for, in relevant part, impacting inert and explosive debris (debris). On February 27, 2014, ULA petitioned for a waiver because the launch has a debris risk of 163 × 10¥6. Section 435.35 establishes acceptable risk for reentry vehicles, and requires operators to comply with §§ 431.35(a) and 431.35(b)(1)(i),1 which in turn prohibit an Ec for debris in excess of 30 × 10¥6, for both launch and reentry combined. On February 27, 2014, Lockheed also petitioned for a waiver because the mission has a combined risk of 164 × 10¥6. Section 431.43(e) requires any reusable launch vehicle (RLV) that enters Earth orbit to be operated such that the vehicle operator can monitor and verify the status of safety critical systems before enabling reentry. This section also prohibits operators from designing a system to reenter autonomously. On February 27, 2014, Lockheed requested a waiver from this prohibition. Waiver Criteria Chapter 509 allows the FAA to waive a license requirement if the waiver (1) will not jeopardize public health and safety, and safety of property; (2) is in the public interest; and (3) will not jeopardize national security and foreign policy interests of the United States. 51 U.S.C. 50905(b)(3); 14 CFR 404.5(b). A. Sixty Day Requirement Section 404.3(b)(5) requires that a petition for waiver be submitted at least 1 Although the module is a reentry vehicle and not a reusable launch vehicle, 14 CFR 435.33 incorporates and applies § 431.43 to all reentry vehicles. E:\FR\FM\10MRN1.SGM 10MRN1 13376 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 46 / Monday, March 10, 2014 / Notices sixty days before the proposed effective date of the waiver, which in this case would be March 8, 2014, the date by which the FAA must make its licensing determination. This section also provides that a petition may be submitted late for good cause. Here, ULA and Lockheed submitted their waiver petitions on February 27, 2014, less than sixty days before the statutory deadline for the FAA’s license determination. However, both launch operators have shared drafts of their petitions with the FAA, thus providing the FAA with sufficiently early access to the information to review the information in a timely fashion. Accordingly, the FAA is able to find good cause. B. Public Health and Safety, and Safety of Property For the purposes of clarity, the FAA’s analysis of public health and safety, and the safety of property, is broken down into subsections reflecting the various issues raised by the risk waivers and autonomous reentry waivers, respectively. 1. Launch and Mission Risk emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with NOTICES Although the FAA’s regulations prohibit debris risk in excess of 30 × 10¥6, a waiver is warranted in this case because the United States Government’s experience conducting other space missions with risk in excess of 100 × 10¥6 demonstrates that the risks of this mission are consistent with the public health and safety, and the safety of property. ULA and Lockheed provided risk analyses for both launch and reentry, respectively, but it was the FAA who calculated the total mission risk for debris as 165 × 10¥6. That number may be broken down as follows: —20 × 10¥6 from launch, with approximately 10 × 10¥6 attributable to local area risk and approximately 10 × 10¥6 attributable to overflight (downrange) risk; —143 × 10¥6 from random and offtarget reentry of the DCSS during the second DCSS burn; —<1 × 10¥6 for reentry of the Orion module The United States Government has repeatedly accepted risk for government launches in excess of the FAA’s 30 × 10¥6 and in excess of 100 × 10¥6, without negative consequences for safety. For example, the current Ec requirement for government launches from U.S. National Test Ranges is 1 × 10¥4 (equal to 100 × 10¥6), encompassing all risk from debris, toxics, and overpressure. See Air Force Instruction 91–217, Space Safety and VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:00 Mar 07, 2014 Jkt 232001 Mishap Prevention Program (2010). Moreover, the Space Shuttle used a debris risk criterion of 200 × 10¥6 for launch risk to the public. See NASA’s Implementation Plan for Space Shuttle Return to Flight and Beyond, Vol. 1 Final Edition, at 2–39 (May 15, 2007). And, in 2005, the U.S. Air Force approved a government launch of a Titan where the risk ranged from 145 to 317 × 10¥6. Dept. of the Air Force Memorandum, Overflight Risk Exceedance Waiver for Titan IV B–30 Mission (Apr. 4, 2005). Additionally, in 2012, the FAA granted a waiver to SpaceX under similar circumstances. Waiver of Acceptable Risk Restriction for Launch and Reentry, Notice of Waiver, 77 FR 24556 (Apr. 24, 2012). SpaceX’s 2012 mission was also NASA-sponsored; involved a test of the company’s reentry vehicle, the Dragon module; and posed an estimated total mission risk from debris of between 98 and 121 × 10¥6. Id. ULA’s launch risk of 163 × 10¥6 is less than the risk approved for these government systems. Accordingly, granting a waiver of §§ 417.107(b)(1) and 431.35(b)(1)(i) in this case does not jeopardize the public health and safety, or the safety of property. 2. Safety of Autonomous Reentry Waiver Because Orion’s reentry system allows Lockheed to identify anomalies or other non-compliant conditions, a waiver allowing autonomous reentry in this instance would not jeopardize the public health and safety, or the safety of property. In 1999, in the preamble to the reentry-rule NPRM, the FAA expressed concern that autonomous reentry was not adequately safe. Commercial Space Transportation Reusable Launch Vehicle and Reentry Licensing Regulations, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 64 FR 19626, 19645 (Apr. 21, 1999). The FAA was specifically concerned about the possibility that anomalies or other non-compliant conditions occurring in then-existing technology would not be identified prior to an autonomous reentry initiation. Id. By requiring the capability for human intervention, however, the FAA did not intend to permanently foreclose the use of autonomous systems or autonomous decision-making. In fact, the agency expressly acknowledged that safer autonomous systems were feasible, and that greater levels of confidence in a particular system could cause the agency to change its position. Commercial Space Transportation Reusable Launch Vehicle and Reentry Licensing Regulations, Final Rule, 65 FR 56618, 56641 (Sept. 19, 2000). Despite PO 00000 Frm 00105 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 its concerns, the FAA retained the authority to waive the autonomous reentry restriction. Id. Lockheed’s proposed approach to reentry addresses the concerns underlying the FAA’s regulatory requirements. Under Lockheed’s proposed plan, Lockheed would use two means of detecting anomalies and non-compliant conditions. Lockheed’s Flight Control Team can monitor and control the module, and the Orion module monitors itself real-time. ULA’s proven DCSS system propels the module to a targeted reentry location over 200 miles into the Pacific Ocean. In a nominal reentry, the Orion module waits for the DCSS to signal that the module is at its pre-determined time for separation, the DCSS thrusters are inhibited, and the vehicle is operating within pre-determined state vector rate requirements. The Orion then autonomously commands its separation from the DCSS and activates the module’s propulsion system. Each string of Orion thrusters is capable of providing closed-loop attitude control in the pitch, yaw, and roll axes, as well as translational delta-velocity. Given the trajectory and landing location chosen for the mission, however, combined with the limited thrust performance capability of the module’s individual thrusters and limited total onboard propellant, the module does not have the propulsive capability to move its impact point over land following DCSS separation. While the module is in flight, Lockheed’s Flight Control Team is capable of receiving and monitoring real-time vehicle telemetry transmissions. By doing so, the team will be able to detect anomalies and non-compliant conditions. In the event the Flight Control Team detects an offnominal condition, the team can send several pre-approved contingency commands to the module to mitigate loss of vehicle and protect public safety. In the event a communications failure causes the Flight Control Team to lose direct insight into the raw health-andstatus telemetry data, the module has the ability to autonomously guide itself to its pre-determined landing site. This autonomous capability allows the module to safely reenter, descend, land, and safe itself post-splashdown—even after a communications failure with the ground. In addition to the systems already described, the Orion module itself has the ability to identify anomalies or other non-compliant conditions. Orion has the ability to monitor its safety-critical systems in real-time. It has a spacegrade vehicle management computer E:\FR\FM\10MRN1.SGM 10MRN1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 46 / Monday, March 10, 2014 / Notices with redundant flight control modules. It has the ability to check the validity of its data by reviewing—using built-in channel selection criteria—data received from redundant sensors. The redundant sensors include redundant GPS receiver antennas and redundant, space-grade inertial measurement units. Also playing an instrumental role in the FAA’s ability to grant a waiver is the fact that Orion is equipped with a number of mitigating features. First, Orion has a ‘‘cold-restart’’ capability and self-checking pair processors to maintain proper vehicle commanding after any unexpected power cycle, radiation upset, or other off-nominal event that would require an automatic restart of the module’s computing system. Also, Orion’s computing system has fail-silent functionality to prevent off-nominal corrupted or inadvertent vehicle commanding. Finally, Orion has two independent and redundant propulsion strings, which ensure that even if one fails the propulsion system will still perform the planned reentry. C. Public Interest The FAA looks to its enabling statute to determine how Congress has defined the public interest. The FAA, through AST, implements the agency’s statutory mandate to encourage the development of commercial space capabilities and the continuous improvement of the safety of launch vehicles designed to carry passengers. 51 U.S.C. 50901(b). ULA and Lockheed’s petitions to waive the FAA’s risk and reentry restrictions are consistent with the public interest because the test flight is necessary to the development of NASA’s human-missions capability beyond Earth orbit. emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with NOTICES D. National Security and Foreign Policy Interests The FAA has not identified any national security or foreign policy implications associated with granting this waiver. Summary and Conclusion The FAA determines that the waivers associated with this mission will not jeopardize public health and safety or safety of property. In addition, the waivers are in the public interest because they accomplish the goals of Chapter 509 and do not unduly increase risk to the public. Finally, they will not jeopardize national security and foreign policy interests of the United States. The FAA therefore waives the requirements of 14 CFR 417.107(b)(1) and 431.35(b)(1)(i) for launch and mission risk, respectively, and of 14 CFR 431.43(e) for a commanded reentry. VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:00 Mar 07, 2014 Jkt 232001 Issued in Washington, DC, on February 28, 2014. Kenneth Wong, Licensing and Evaluation Division Manager. [FR Doc. 2014–05136 Filed 3–7–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–13–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration [Docket No. FMCSA–2013–0312] Agency Information Collection Activities; Revision of a CurrentlyApproved Information Collection Request: Training Certification for Drivers of Longer Combination Vehicles Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT. ACTION: Notice and request for comments. AGENCY: In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, FMCSA announces its plan to submit the Information Collection Request (ICR) described below to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for approval and invites public comment. FMCSA requests approval to revise the ICR entitled ‘‘Training Certification for Drivers of Longer Combination Vehicles (LCVs),’’ due to a change in the estimated number of annual responses. This ICR relates to Agency requirements for driver certification to operate LCVs that motor carriers must satisfy before permitting their drivers to operate LCVs. Motor carriers, upon inquiry by authorized Federal, State or local officials, must produce an LCV drivertraining certificate for each of their LCV drivers. DATES: Please send your comments by April 9, 2014. OMB must receive your comments by this date in order to act on the ICR. ADDRESSES: All comments should reference Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) Docket Number FMCSA–2013–0312. Interested persons are invited to submit written comments on the proposed information collection to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget. Comments should be addressed to the attention of the Desk Officer, Department of Transportation/Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and sent via electronic mail to oira_submission@ omb.eop.gov, or faxed to (202) 395– 6974, or mailed to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00106 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 13377 Docket Library, Room 10102, 725 17th Street NW., ., Washington, DC 20503. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Thomas Yager, Chief, Driver and Carrier Operations Division, Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, West Building 6th Floor, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590. Telephone: 202–366–4325; email tom.yager@ dot.gov. Office hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal Holidays. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Title: Training Certification for Drivers of LCVs. OMB Control Number: 2126–0026. Type of Request: Revision of a currently-approved information collection. Respondents: Drivers who complete LCV training each year, current LCV drivers who submit their LCV DriverTraining Certificate to prospective employers, and employers (motor carriers) that receive and maintain copies of their drivers’ LCV DriverTraining Certificates. Estimated Number of Respondents: 50,880, consisting of 940 newly certified LCV drivers plus 24,500 currently certified LCV drivers plus 25,440 motor carriers employing LCV drivers. Estimated Time per Response: 10 minutes for preparation of LCV DriverTraining Certificates for drivers who successfully complete the LCV training, and 10 minutes for activities associated with the LCV Driver-Training Certificate during the hiring process. Expiration Date: March 31, 2014. Frequency of Response: On occasion. Estimated Total Annual Burden: 4,240 hours. The total number of drivers who will be subjected to these requirements each year is 25,440, consisting of 940 newly certified LCV drivers, and 24,500 currently certified LCV drivers obtaining new employment. The total annual information collection burden is approximately 4,240 hours, consisting of 157 hours for preparation of LCV Driver-Training Certificates [940 drivers successfully completing LCV driver training × 10 minutes ÷ 60 minutes/hour] and 4,083 hours for requirements related to the hiring of LCV drivers [24,500 LCV drivers obtaining new employment × 10 minutes ÷ 60 minutes/hour]. Background: An LCV is any combination of a truck-tractor and two or more semi-trailers or trailers that operates on the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways (according to 23 CFR 658.5) and has a gross vehicle weight greater than 80,000 pounds. To enhance the safety of LCV E:\FR\FM\10MRN1.SGM 10MRN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 46 (Monday, March 10, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 13375-13377]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-05136]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration


Waiver of Autonomous Reentry Restriction for a Reentry Vehicle

AGENCY: Office of Commercial Space Transportation; Federal Aviation 
Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice of waiver.

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

SUMMARY: This notice concerns three petitions for waiver related to the 
launch and reentry of an Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle. In the first 
of these petitions, United Launch Alliance (ULA) requested a waiver of 
the FAA's requirement that the expected number of casualties for a 
launch not exceed 0.00003 casualties (Ec <= 30 x 
10-\6\) from debris. For the second and third petitions, 
Lockheed Martin (Lockheed) requested waivers of the FAA's regulatory 
requirements that (1) the expected number of casualties for the entire 
mission, including launch and reentry, not exceed 30 x 
10-\6\ casualties from debris; and (2) an operator only 
initiate reentry of a reentry vehicle by command. The FAA elects to 
consider all three petitions together because all three involve the 
same essential facts and risk analyses. The FAA grants all three 
petitions.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For technical questions concerning 
this waiver, contact Charles P. Brinkman, Aerospace Engineer, AST-200, 
Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST), Federal Aviation 
Administration, 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, Manager, 
Space Law Branch (AGC-250), Regulations Division, Office of the Chief 
Counsel, Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue SW., 
Washington, DC 20591; telephone (202) 267-3150; email: 
laura.montgomery@faa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    Lockheed and ULA are private commercial space flight companies. 
Lockheed entered into a contract with the National Aeronautics and 
Space Administration (NASA) to provide the first orbital flight test 
for NASA's Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle Program. Lockheed has 
contracted with ULA to provide launch services for the mission.
    The FAA is responsible for licensing, in relevant part, the launch 
of a launch vehicle and the reentry of a reentry vehicle, under 
authority granted to the Secretary of Transportation by 51 USC Subtitle 
V, chapter 509 (Chapter 509), and delegated to the FAA's Administrator 
and Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation.
    The mission at issue in this notice is Orion Exploration Flight 
Test 1, launching from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The 
mission tests the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle in an un-crewed, 
limited-capability configuration, and serves as a stepping stone 
towards a crew-capable vehicle that would enable human exploration 
missions beyond Earth orbit. The mission is comprised of a launch, 
which is conducted by ULA, and a reentry, which is conducted by 
Lockheed. The launch vehicle is ULA's Delta IV Heavy launch vehicle, 
which consists of a Common Booster Core (CBC) as the first stage with 
two additional strap-on CBCs and a Delta IV Cryogenic Second Stage 
(DCSS). The first burn of the DCSS places the Orion and the DCSS in 
orbit, and a second DCSS burn places the Orion into a highly 
elliptical, negative-perigee trajectory, to simulate the thermal 
conditions and high reentry speeds the module would experience 
returning from missions beyond Earth orbit. After separating from the 
DCSS, the Orion module reenters over the eastern Pacific Ocean, 
splashing down 231 nautical miles west of Baja California, Mexico.
    Section 417.107(b)(1) of Title 14 of the Code of Federal 
Regulations (14 CFR) prohibits the launch of a launch vehicle if the 
expected casualty (Ec) for the flight exceeds 30 x 
10-\6\ for, in relevant part, impacting inert and explosive 
debris (debris). On February 27, 2014, ULA petitioned for a waiver 
because the launch has a debris risk of 163 x 10-\6\.
    Section 435.35 establishes acceptable risk for reentry vehicles, 
and requires operators to comply with Sec. Sec.  431.35(a) and 
431.35(b)(1)(i),\1\ which in turn prohibit an Ec for debris 
in excess of 30 x 10-\6\, for both launch and reentry 
combined. On February 27, 2014, Lockheed also petitioned for a waiver 
because the mission has a combined risk of 164 x 10-\6\.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ Although the module is a reentry vehicle and not a reusable 
launch vehicle, 14 CFR 435.33 incorporates and applies Sec.  431.43 
to all reentry vehicles.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Section 431.43(e) requires any reusable launch vehicle (RLV) that 
enters Earth orbit to be operated such that the vehicle operator can 
monitor and verify the status of safety critical systems before 
enabling reentry. This section also prohibits operators from designing 
a system to reenter autonomously. On February 27, 2014, Lockheed 
requested a waiver from this prohibition.

Waiver Criteria

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

A. Sixty Day Requirement

    Section 404.3(b)(5) requires that a petition for waiver be 
submitted at least

[[Page 13376]]

sixty days before the proposed effective date of the waiver, which in 
this case would be March 8, 2014, the date by which the FAA must make 
its licensing determination. This section also provides that a petition 
may be submitted late for good cause.
    Here, ULA and Lockheed submitted their waiver petitions on February 
27, 2014, less than sixty days before the statutory deadline for the 
FAA's license determination. However, both launch operators have shared 
drafts of their petitions with the FAA, thus providing the FAA with 
sufficiently early access to the information to review the information 
in a timely fashion. Accordingly, the FAA is able to find good cause.

B. Public Health and Safety, and Safety of Property

    For the purposes of clarity, the FAA's analysis of public health 
and safety, and the safety of property, is broken down into subsections 
reflecting the various issues raised by the risk waivers and autonomous 
reentry waivers, respectively.
1. Launch and Mission Risk
    Although the FAA's regulations prohibit debris risk in excess of 30 
x 10-\6\, a waiver is warranted in this case because the 
United States Government's experience conducting other space missions 
with risk in excess of 100 x 10-\6\ demonstrates that the 
risks of this mission are consistent with the public health and safety, 
and the safety of property. ULA and Lockheed provided risk analyses for 
both launch and reentry, respectively, but it was the FAA who 
calculated the total mission risk for debris as 165 x 
10-\6\. That number may be broken down as follows:

--20 x 10-\6\ from launch, with approximately 10 x 
10-\6\ attributable to local area risk and approximately 10 
x 10-\6\ attributable to overflight (downrange) risk;
--143 x 10-\6\ from random and off-target reentry of the 
DCSS during the second DCSS burn;
--<1 x 10-\6\ for reentry of the Orion module

    The United States Government has repeatedly accepted risk for 
government launches in excess of the FAA's 30 x 10-\6\ and 
in excess of 100 x 10-\6\, without negative consequences for 
safety. For example, the current Ec requirement for 
government launches from U.S. National Test Ranges is 1 x 
10-\4\ (equal to 100 x 10-\6\), encompassing all 
risk from debris, toxics, and overpressure. See Air Force Instruction 
91-217, Space Safety and Mishap Prevention Program (2010). Moreover, 
the Space Shuttle used a debris risk criterion of 200 x 
10-\6\ for launch risk to the public. See NASA's 
Implementation Plan for Space Shuttle Return to Flight and Beyond, Vol. 
1 Final Edition, at 2-39 (May 15, 2007). And, in 2005, the U.S. Air 
Force approved a government launch of a Titan where the risk ranged 
from 145 to 317 x 10-\6\. Dept. of the Air Force Memorandum, 
Overflight Risk Exceedance Waiver for Titan IV B-30 Mission (Apr. 4, 
2005).
    Additionally, in 2012, the FAA granted a waiver to SpaceX under 
similar circumstances. Waiver of Acceptable Risk Restriction for Launch 
and Reentry, Notice of Waiver, 77 FR 24556 (Apr. 24, 2012). SpaceX's 
2012 mission was also NASA-sponsored; involved a test of the company's 
reentry vehicle, the Dragon module; and posed an estimated total 
mission risk from debris of between 98 and 121 x 10-\6\. Id.
    ULA's launch risk of 163 x 10-\6\ is less than the risk 
approved for these government systems. Accordingly, granting a waiver 
of Sec. Sec.  417.107(b)(1) and 431.35(b)(1)(i) in this case does not 
jeopardize the public health and safety, or the safety of property.
2. Safety of Autonomous Reentry Waiver
    Because Orion's reentry system allows Lockheed to identify 
anomalies or other non-compliant conditions, a waiver allowing 
autonomous reentry in this instance would not jeopardize the public 
health and safety, or the safety of property. In 1999, in the preamble 
to the reentry-rule NPRM, the FAA expressed concern that autonomous 
reentry was not adequately safe. Commercial Space Transportation 
Reusable Launch Vehicle and Reentry Licensing Regulations, Notice of 
Proposed Rulemaking, 64 FR 19626, 19645 (Apr. 21, 1999). The FAA was 
specifically concerned about the possibility that anomalies or other 
non-compliant conditions occurring in then-existing technology would 
not be identified prior to an autonomous reentry initiation. Id. By 
requiring the capability for human intervention, however, the FAA did 
not intend to permanently foreclose the use of autonomous systems or 
autonomous decision-making. In fact, the agency expressly acknowledged 
that safer autonomous systems were feasible, and that greater levels of 
confidence in a particular system could cause the agency to change its 
position. Commercial Space Transportation Reusable Launch Vehicle and 
Reentry Licensing Regulations, Final Rule, 65 FR 56618, 56641 (Sept. 
19, 2000). Despite its concerns, the FAA retained the authority to 
waive the autonomous reentry restriction. Id. Lockheed's proposed 
approach to reentry addresses the concerns underlying the FAA's 
regulatory requirements. Under Lockheed's proposed plan, Lockheed would 
use two means of detecting anomalies and non-compliant conditions. 
Lockheed's Flight Control Team can monitor and control the module, and 
the Orion module monitors itself real-time.
    ULA's proven DCSS system propels the module to a targeted reentry 
location over 200 miles into the Pacific Ocean. In a nominal reentry, 
the Orion module waits for the DCSS to signal that the module is at its 
pre-determined time for separation, the DCSS thrusters are inhibited, 
and the vehicle is operating within pre-determined state vector rate 
requirements. The Orion then autonomously commands its separation from 
the DCSS and activates the module's propulsion system. Each string of 
Orion thrusters is capable of providing closed-loop attitude control in 
the pitch, yaw, and roll axes, as well as translational delta-velocity. 
Given the trajectory and landing location chosen for the mission, 
however, combined with the limited thrust performance capability of the 
module's individual thrusters and limited total onboard propellant, the 
module does not have the propulsive capability to move its impact point 
over land following DCSS separation.
    While the module is in flight, Lockheed's Flight Control Team is 
capable of receiving and monitoring real-time vehicle telemetry 
transmissions. By doing so, the team will be able to detect anomalies 
and non-compliant conditions. In the event the Flight Control Team 
detects an off-nominal condition, the team can send several pre-
approved contingency commands to the module to mitigate loss of vehicle 
and protect public safety. In the event a communications failure causes 
the Flight Control Team to lose direct insight into the raw health-and-
status telemetry data, the module has the ability to autonomously guide 
itself to its pre-determined landing site. This autonomous capability 
allows the module to safely reenter, descend, land, and safe itself 
post-splashdown--even after a communications failure with the ground.
    In addition to the systems already described, the Orion module 
itself has the ability to identify anomalies or other non-compliant 
conditions. Orion has the ability to monitor its safety-critical 
systems in real-time. It has a space-grade vehicle management computer

[[Page 13377]]

with redundant flight control modules. It has the ability to check the 
validity of its data by reviewing--using built-in channel selection 
criteria--data received from redundant sensors. The redundant sensors 
include redundant GPS receiver antennas and redundant, space-grade 
inertial measurement units.
    Also playing an instrumental role in the FAA's ability to grant a 
waiver is the fact that Orion is equipped with a number of mitigating 
features. First, Orion has a ``cold-restart'' capability and self-
checking pair processors to maintain proper vehicle commanding after 
any unexpected power cycle, radiation upset, or other off-nominal event 
that would require an automatic restart of the module's computing 
system. Also, Orion's computing system has fail-silent functionality to 
prevent off-nominal corrupted or inadvertent vehicle commanding. 
Finally, Orion has two independent and redundant propulsion strings, 
which ensure that even if one fails the propulsion system will still 
perform the planned reentry.

C. Public Interest

    The FAA looks to its enabling statute to determine how Congress has 
defined the public interest. The FAA, through AST, implements the 
agency's statutory mandate to encourage the development of commercial 
space capabilities and the continuous improvement of the safety of 
launch vehicles designed to carry passengers. 51 U.S.C. 50901(b).
    ULA and Lockheed's petitions to waive the FAA's risk and reentry 
restrictions are consistent with the public interest because the test 
flight is necessary to the development of NASA's human-missions 
capability beyond Earth orbit.

D. National Security and Foreign Policy Interests

    The FAA has not identified any national security or foreign policy 
implications associated with granting this waiver.

Summary and Conclusion

    The FAA determines that the waivers associated with this mission 
will not jeopardize public health and safety or safety of property. In 
addition, the waivers are in the public interest because they 
accomplish the goals of Chapter 509 and do not unduly increase risk to 
the public. Finally, they will not jeopardize national security and 
foreign policy interests of the United States. The FAA therefore waives 
the requirements of 14 CFR 417.107(b)(1) and 431.35(b)(1)(i) for launch 
and mission risk, respectively, and of 14 CFR 431.43(e) for a commanded 
reentry.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on February 28, 2014.
Kenneth Wong,
Licensing and Evaluation Division Manager.
[FR Doc. 2014-05136 Filed 3-7-14; 8:45 am]
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