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NASA Technical Standard 8719.14

NASA Technical Standard 8719.14
August 2007

Process for Limiting Orbital Debris

(Note: Legacy programs may elect to use NSS 1740.14. To see if your program qualifies, click here.)

NASA Technical Standard 8719.14 Cover Sheet. Click to view full size.

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This NASA-STD is published by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to provide uniform engineering and technical requirements for processes, procedures, practices, and methods that have been endorsed as standard for NASA programs and projects, including requirements for selection, application, and design criteria of an item. Use of this NASA-STD is the responsibility of the user.

This NASA-STD is approved for use by NASA Headquarters and NASA Centers, including Component Facilities. This NASA-STD may be applied on contracts for spacecraft, instrument, or launch vehicle contractors per contractual documentation.

Collision with orbital debris is a risk of growing concern as historically-accepted practices and procedures have allowed artificial objects to accumulate in Earth orbit. To limit future debris generation, NASA Procedural Requirements (NPR) 8715.6, “NASA Procedural Requirements for Limiting Orbital Debris,” requires each program and project to conduct a formal assessment of the potential to generate orbital debris during deployment, mission operations, and after the mission has been terminated. This NASA-STD serves as a companion to NPR 8715.6 and provides each NASA program and project with specific requirements and assessment methods to assure compliance with the NPR.

This NASA-STD is consistent with the objectives of the U.S. National Space Policy (August 2006), the U.S. Government Orbital Debris Mitigation Standard Practices (February 2001), the Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee (IADC) Space Debris Mitigation Guidelines (October 2002), the Space and Missile Center Orbital Debris Handbook, Technical Report on Space Debris (July 2002), the space debris mitigation guidelines of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, (A/AC.105/720, 1999 and A/AC.105/890, Feb 2007). The requirements contained within this NASA-STD (and NPR 8715.6) encompass the requirements within the U.S. Government Mitigation Standard Practices, the IADC Space Debris Mitigation Guidelines, and the United Nations documents cited above and therefore imply compliance with the requirements in those documents.

Requests for information, corrections, or additions to this NASA-STD shall be submitted via “Feedback” in the NASA Technical Standards System at This NASA-STD was developed by the NASA Headquarters Office of Safety and Mission Assurance with the Orbital Debris Program Office at Johnson Space Center.

Bryan O'Connor August 29, 2007
Chief, Safety and Mission Assurance Approval Date

Process for Limiting Orbital Debris


1.1 Purpose

1.1.1 This document serves as a companion to NASA Procedural Requirements (NPR) 8715.6 and provides specific requirements and methods to comply with the NASA requirements for limiting orbital debris generation. NASA-Standard (NASA-STD) 8719.14 updates NASA Safety Standard (NSS) 1740.14, which went into effect in August 1995. This NASA-STD helps ensure that spacecraft and launch vehicles meet acceptable standards for limiting orbital debris generation.

Note: Limited use of NSS 1740.14 for programs in effect as of approval of this NASASTD is per the requirements in NPR 8715.6 paragraph P.2.

1.1.2 This NASA-STD is primarily designed to limit the creation of new orbital debris and, therefore, to limit the risk to other current and future space missions. The methodologies described herein can be used by programs and projects to evaluate and to improve their own mission reliability and success with respect to the orbital debris and meteoroid environment. The assessments described in this NASA-STD are required per NPR 8715.6 and are reviewed for completeness as a part of the flight approval processes.

1.1.3 This document, along with the associated Debris Assessment Software (DAS) [version 2.0 or higher] provided by the NASA Orbital Debris Program Office (NASA ODPO) located at Johnson Space Center (JSC), shall be used by the program or project manager as the primary reference in conducting orbital debris assessments (Requirement 56244).

1.1.4 This NASA-STD establishes requirements for (1) limiting the generation of orbital debris, (2) assessing the risk of collision with existing space debris, (3) assessing the potential of space structures to impact the surface of the Earth, and (4) assessing and limiting the risk associated with the end of mission (EOM) of a space object. In addition to requirements in Section 4 and methods for assessment, this NASA-STD provides the format for the required debris assessment and reports which must be submitted to the Office of Safety and Mission Assurance as required in NPR 8715.6.

Note: NASA is planning to issue a third NASA-wide document on limiting orbital debris in 2008. This document will be a NASA Handbook (NASA-HDBK) 8719.DRAFT and will contain the background and reference materials to aid in understanding the background and physics for predicting and limiting orbital debris. Appendices C, D, and E in this NASA-STD are a sample of the level of detail that will be in this new NASA-HDBK.

1.1.5 This document is primarily intended for use in assessing orbital debris that is in Earth orbit. For spacecraft and launch vehicles traveling beyond Earth orbit, the beginning of Sections 4.3-4.8 state how the requirements in this NASA-STD are applicable to missions traveling beyond Earth orbit.

1.2 Applicability

a. This NASA-STD is applicable to all objects launched into space in which NASA has lead involvement and control or has partial involvement with control over design or operations via U.S. internal or international partnership agreements, including the launch vehicle. This document has no automatic exclusions for any program or project due to limited funding, responsibility, or involvement of NASA in the program or project. NASA involvement includes design, manufacture, or funding of instruments, spacecraft bus, spacecraft systems, the launch vehicle, and launch processing. The use of this NASA-STD is only required for those portions of a space mission under NASA control. This NASA-STD defines being in ‘space’ as exceeding 100 km (~62 mi) in altitude and achieving or exceeding Earth orbital velocity.

b. This NASA-STD has been designed to be cited in contract, program, and other Agency documents as a technical requirement or as a reference for guidance.

c. Any decision to waive or vary from the requirements in this NASA-STD requires the concurrence of the Chief, Safety and Mission Assurance, Office of Safety and Mission Assurance (Chief/OSMA).

d. Within this NASA-STD, the word “shall” indicates a mandatory requirement, the word “should” indicates that a statement is strongly recommended for implementation but not required, and the word “may” indicates an optional implementation.

e. NASA spacecraft, launch vehicles, and instruments that passed Preliminary Design Review (PDR) prior to August 1995 (release of NSS 1740.14, Guidelines and Assessment Procedures for Limiting Orbital Debris) are not required to perform an orbital debris assessment (ODA) unless a large change in design or changes in space object capability or risk affect the ability to achieve compliance with the requirements. If one or more of these conditions occur, an ODA Report (ODAR) shall be performed (Requirement 56255).

f. Programs/projects that have passed spacecraft PDR at the time of approval of NPR 8715.6 may elect to follow the mission and hardware design and operation requirements of NPR 8715.6 and the procedures in NSS 1740.14 for ODARs

Note: For future changes to NPR 8715.6 and this NASA-STD, programs may request a waiver to the new requirements per NPR 8715.3 Paragraph 1.13.

g. Programs within four months of launch at the time of approval of NPR 8715.6 are not required to submit the prelaunch End-of-Mission (EOM) Plans (EOMP); however, the information should be included within the ODAR.

h. Programs less than three months from EOM at the time of approval of NPR 8715.6 are not required to submit an EOMP; however, it is desirable to develop an EOMP in conjunction with performing the requirements contained in NPD 8010.3, Notification of Intent to Decommission or Terminate Operating Space Systems and Terminate Missions.

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