Frequently Asked Questions

  • The NASA administrator established the NSRS in 1987 following the Space Shuttle Challenger accident. A post-accident presidential commission levied several recommendations on NASA prior to resuming space flight — including the creation of a voluntary, responsive and anonymous way for the NASA workforce to report safety concerns and hazards directly to NASA’s top safety leadership team in the Office of Safety and Mission Assurance at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. Initially created for reporting safety hazards associated with the Space Shuttle Program, the scope of the NSRS was subsequently expanded to include all NASA activities.

  • Anyone is eligible to send reports to the NSRS.

  • You should consider using the NSRS to report a safety concern or hazard when

    • You have reported a safety concern or hazard locally and seen no action taken.
    • You are not satisfied with the response to a reported safety concern or hazard.
    • You are afraid or fear reprisal if you were to report locally.
  • Any safety concern or hazard presented by a NASA activity that can affect the public, the NASA workforce or NASA assets should be reported. On the NSRS report form, describe the safety concern or hazard in detail. Personnel who submit an NSRS report, or “reporters,” are encouraged to include as much information as possible to clarify their concern. As the reporter, you are encouraged to include facts such as

    • The scope of the safety concern or hazard (whether the safety concern or hazard affects NASA assets, the NASA workforce and/or the general public).
    • Manufacturing sources and/or part numbers (if hardware is involved).
    • The physical location of the safety concern or hazard.
    • Whether or not the safety concern or hazard has been reported elsewhere.
    • Whether the safety concern or hazard relates to a single event or recurring process.
    • What you believe may have caused the safety concern or hazard.
    • What you think can be done to correct the safety concern or hazard and prevent a recurrence.
    • What you believe the consequences may be if the safety concern or hazard remains unresolved.
  • The NSRS is not authorized to receive classified information that is marked Confidential, Secret or Top Secret. You should report concerns involving waste, fraud, abuse or other alleged criminal activity directly to the NASA Inspector General’s Office (IG), NOT to the NSRS. The NSRS will refer any reports that allege waste, fraud, abuse or criminal activity to the NASA IG, including the reporter’s identity, as required by regulation. The NSRS cannot protect your anonymity if you report criminal activity.

  • The NSRS ONLY accepts reports via U.S. postal mail to our post office box in Bethesda, Maryland. In-person, telephone, fax machine or online reporting are not accepted; the NSRS cannot guarantee reporter anonymity using those methods.

    You can print, complete and mail the downloadable NSRS report form or send a personal letter/correspondence to

    NASA Safety Reporting System
    P.O. Box 5826
    Bethesda, MD 20824-9913
    Download NSRS Form
  • If you provide your contact information when you submit your report, the independent contractor will notify you when the NSRS received your report. Once NASA has determined it does not need additional clarifying information from you, the independent contractor will return the portion of the report form that contains your contact information. The independent contractor will also provide you with a unique case number, and you can visit the NSRS status page where a general status of your case will be posted. The independent contractor does not provide status updates directly to reporters — your case number on the website is the only means of status feedback to you.

    If you do not provide your contact information, your report still receives the same due diligence, but you will not receive a case number and no general status can be provided on your report.

    No additional feedback is provided to reporters beyond what is posted to the website. A reporter’s only other option is to independently look for observable changes in the environment where the safety concern or hazard was located — for example, changes to policy, plans, training, hardware, software, etc.

  • To keep your information anonymous to NASA, the NSRS ONLY accepts reports through a third-party independent contractor. The contractor is vetted and trained to guard your identity and function as the interface between you and NASA to protect and ensure your anonymity.

    Reports sent to the NSRS Post Office Box are collected and processed by the independent contractor. The contractor removes the upper portion of the report form that contains your identity and returns that portion to you to confirm your report has been received. The contractor forwards ONLY an identity-redacted transcript of your concerns to the NSRS program manager at NASA Headquarters. The original report is NEVER shared with or seen by anyone at NASA. Your identity is NOT shared with NASA.* The independent contractor does not keep a record of your identity.

    * The NSRS is not authorized to receive information that is marked Confidential, Secret or Top Secret. Concerns involving waste, fraud, abuse or other alleged criminal activity should be reported directly to the NASA IG, NOT to the NSRS. Any reports sent to the NSRS that allege waste, fraud, abuse or criminal activity will be referred by the NSRS to the NASA IG, including the reporter’s identity, as required by regulation. A reporter’s anonymity cannot be protected if he or she reports criminal activity to the NSRS.

  • Reporting to the NSRS is entirely voluntary — no one is required to use the NSRS. However, prior to using the NSRS, you are encouraged to attempt to resolve any safety or hazard concerns at your workplace using existing local reporting channels. More information about local reporting channels at NASA can be found here.

    Keep in mind, at any time you may voluntarily choose to bypass local reporting channels and report directly to the NSRS.

  • The NSRS program is designed to provide prompt attention to reported concerns and includes the following steps:

    • The NSRS program manager is notified of new, incoming reports within 24 hours of their receipt by the NSRS independent contractor, who creates an identity-redacted transcription of the report to be shared with NASA.
    • The independent contractor notifies the reporter that the submission has been received.
    • The NSRS program manager screens the identity-redacted transcript for urgency and criticality.
    • The NSRS program manager shares the identity-redacted transcript with NASA‘s top safety leadership team, who together determine a plan of action and assign an independent investigator.
    • All reports receive ongoing, prompt attention until all the safety concerns and hazards have been mitigated to an acceptable level.
    • Reports alleging supervisory/management inaction require special handling and are investigated at a management level at least one organizational level above the level of the personnel reported to the NSRS.
    • The independent investigator reports back to NASA’s top safety leadership team on a regular basis with their findings and proposed mitigations. The NSRS report is not closed out until all agreed-upon mitigations have been completed and accepted by NASA’s top safety leadership team.
  • If you are not satisfied with NASA’s response to a safety concern or hazard, you still have another option: You can choose to elevate your concerns to the Office of Federal Agency Safety and Health Programs in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration within the Department of Labor, found here.


SATERN Courses

NASA Safety Reporting System SMA-038-01

With mandated budgets and personnel reductions, NASA Safety and Mission Assurance (SMA) is more critical to success than ever before. To ensure SMA, the NASA Safety Program allows NASA employees and contractors to report hazardous conditions to line management and local safety organizations. NASA instituted the NASA Safety Reporting System (NSRS) as a result of the Challenger accident in 1986. NSRS was designed to give NASA employees at any level and contractors an alternate avenue or channel through which to communicate safety concerns and issues to upper management. This training module is designed to provide the student a general overview of the goals and uses of NSRS.

SMA-038-01 Details Launch SATERN

Policy and Guidance


Policy Title Buttons Buttons
NPR 8715.1 NASA Occupational Safety and Health Programs NPR 8715.1 Details See NPR 8715.1
NPR 8715.3 NASA General Safety Program Requirements NPR 8715.3 Details See NPR 8715.3


If you have submitted an NSRS report with contact information, you can find the encoded status of your report on the Status page.

View Status
NSRS Reporting Form

NSRS Reporting Form

Submit a report to the NASA Safety Reporting System (NSRS) by downloading, printing, completing and mailing an NSRS Reporting Form. The NSRS program does not accept reports by telephone or email. Follow the instructions on the Reporting Form and mail the completed form to

NASA Safety Reporting System
P.O. Box 5826
Bethesda, MD 20824-9913
Download PDF

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