Range Flight Safety Program Updates NPR and Creates New Standard

Range Flight Safety Program Updates NPR and Creates New Standard

3-minute read
Range Flight Safety NPR and Standard Update

The NASA Range Flight Safety Program updated NPR 8715.5, Range Flight Safety Program and released the newly created NASA-STD-8719.25, Range Flight Safety Requirements, which went into effect on Feb. 2 and Feb. 5, respectively. The creation of the standard and subsequent changes to the NASA Procedural Requirements (NPR) support an agency effort to ensure NPRs focus on policy and process, while standards contain technical requirements.


The biggest change in NPR 8515.5B was the removal of the technical requirements now found in the standard, however there were a few additional changes of note. A table was added that covers the applicability of the new standard as it relates to different types of range flight operations (NASA vehicle on a NASA range, a non-NASA vehicle on a NASA range, a NASA vehicle on a non-NASA range, a NASA vehicle on a non-government range, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-licensed vehicles on a non-NASA range, and NASA Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in the National Airspace System (NAS)). The table also provides the approvals required for the Range Safety Risk Management Process and applicable waivers or equivalent levels of safety. Previously, the majority of launches and flights were NASA-owned vehicles taking place on NASA property or an Air Force range, but in recent years there has been a major uptick in commercial launches, such as the SpaceX Falcon 9 launching at Kennedy Space Center or the Orbital ATK Antares launching at Wallops Flight Facility. While some of this information was available in the previous revision, the table makes the information easier to digest and more clearly defines the applicability of the requirements.

There was also a minor terminology change, from center Range Safety representative to center Range Flight Safety lead. The new title holds most of the same responsibilities as the representative role, but is better defined.

Finally, the last chapter of Revision B covers the NAS and FAA licenses and certificates of authorization. This chapter now provides requirements for NASA programs required to obtain FAA licensing for launch or entry, as well as requirements for NASA UAS flying in the NAS.


Although the standard itself is new, the majority of the requirements in NASA-STD-8719.25 remain unchanged from when they were a part of the NPR.

One of the main changes pertains to UAS activities. When NASA last updated the NPR, only a few centers were flying UAS; however, now, nearly all centers are flying or are looking to fly these systems. While the NPR had some very general requirements, the standard calls out more specific requirements as they apply to UAS. Rather than starting from scratch, the Range Flight Safety Program reviewed the existing requirements for other range flight operations and any time the requirement was applicable to UAS, a callout was added to the standard stating its applicability.

In addition to the UAS content, the standard also added tables in the appendix outlining the minimum training requirements for personnel performing Range Flight Safety-related functions during NASA range flight operations. The previous revision of the NPR had very high level requirements that only applied to range safety officers. The new standard expands beyond that role to also cover flight safety analysts, flight safety system engineers and the center Range Flight Safety lead.


Programs and projects should review NPR 8715.5B to determine if their operations are Range Flight Safety related and, if so, become familiar with the applicable requirements in NASA-STD-8719.25. Questions can be directed to NASA Range Safety Program Executive Sandra Hudson or NASA Range Flight Safety Program Manager Chuck Loftin


Chuck Loftin

Range Flight Safety Program Manager

Learn more about Range Flight Safety Program Manager Chuck Loftin.

Read More

Sandra Hudson

Range Flight Safety Program Executive

Learn more about Range Flight Safety Program Executive Sandra Hudson.

Read More

Points of Contact

For details on contacting a Range Flight Safety Point of Contact (PoC), click below.

Find Your PoC

Objectives Hierarchy

The Office of Safety and Mission Assurance (OSMA) has introduced a new objectives-based approach to better support NASA’s increasingly complex missions in a changing design environment. By focusing on objectives, OSMA hopes that the new standards will be more flexible, agile and cost-effective, and will allow more ingenuity to achieve objectives. It will serve as a guide to help programs and projects plan how they will meet their objectives, instead of dictating what they must do to via prescriptive requirements. Read the article, "OSMA Introduces New Objectives-Based Strategies," to learn more about objective hierarchies.

View Hierarchy



SATERN Courses

Course Title Course Number Buttons
Flight Safety Systems SMA-AS-WBT-335 SMA-AS-WBT-335 Details
Introduction to Unmanned Aircraft Systems With a Focus on Range Flight Safety SMA-NSC-WEBEV-044 SMA-NSC-WEBEV-044 Details
Range Flight Safety Analysis Course SMA-AS-WBT-435 SMA-AS-WBT-435 Details
Range Flight Safety Orientation SMA-AS-WBT-410 SMA-AS-WBT-410 Details
UAS Range Flight Safety SMA-AS-WBT-300
SMA-AS-WBT-300 Details

Instructor-Led Courses

Range Flight Safety Operations GSFC-RFSO

This introductory course focuses on the roles and responsibilities of the Range Safety Officer or Flight Safety Officer during Range Flight Safety activities and real-time support including pre-launch/flight, launch/flight and recovery/landing for NASA Sounding Rocket, Unmanned Aircraft System and Expendable Launch Vehicle operations.


Policy and Guidance


NPR 8715.5 Range Flight Safety Program

This policy defines the agency Range Flight Safety Program and provides for implementation of NPD 8700.1, NASA Policy for Safety and Mission Success regarding the protection of the public, workforce and property during range operations associated with flight.

See NPR 8715.5
NASA-STD-8719.25 Range Flight Safety Requirements

This standard provides the technical requirements for NPR 8715.5, Range Flight Safety Program in regards to protection of the public, NASA workforce and property as it pertains to risk analysis, Flight Safety Systems and range flight operations.

See NASA-STD 8719.25 


At least twice a year, the Range Flight Safety program manager releases a report that

  1. Describes the activities at various NASA ranges that are relevant to NASA civil service personnel, contractors and providers
  2. Provides accurate and actionable responses to the annual Office of Safety and Mission Assurance survey of program and discipline health

Previously, the Range Flight Safety program published an Annual Report funded by the Office of Safety and Mission Assurance. The report was an overview of NASA Range Safety for current and potential range users. You can find an archive of the Annual Reports below.

View Annual Reports Archive

NASA Range and Launch Site Locations

NASA has four range and launch site locations:

  • Kennedy Space Center
  • Wallops Flight Center
  • Armstrong Flight Research Center
  • Space Launch Complex 2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base
NASA Range and Launch Site Locations