Nuclear Flight Safety Paper Details Program’s Evolution to Meet Changing Needs
November 23, 2021
Mission Assurance Standards and Capabilities Division Matt Forsbacka and Nuclear Flight Safety (NFS) Assurance Manager Don Helton recently presented their paper “Evolution of NASA’s Nuclear Flight Safety Program to Meet Changing Needs” at the 11th International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety Conference.
The paper discusses how NASA is updating its NFS policies to maintain consistency with changes to U.S. government-issued national policies that fundamentally changed the approach to NFS for aerospace applications. As part of this evolution, NASA is factoring in an objectives-driven and assurance case mindset to develop a risk-informed and performance-based program. NASA and others have successfully applied this mindset in other disciplines and contexts and it is being pursued here via broad cooperation within NASA and with external stakeholders. This paper briefly describes how the NASA NFS program is evolving to meet these changing needs.
“The paper, and the ongoing activities, serve as a bridge between NASA’s historical activities related to nuclear technologies in flight and our plans going forward,” explained Helton. “The plans going forward are designed to help this program keep pace with federal changes, changes to how NASA operates, and changes to how we approach Safety and Mission Assurance.”