ECSS-Q-40A – Safety (19 April 1996)

This standard has been cancelled and replaced by ECSS-Q-40B (17 May 2002).


This standard defines the safety programme and the technical safety requirements that shall be implemented in order to comply with the ECSS Safety Policy as defined in ECSS–Q–00. It is intended to protect flight and ground personnel, the launch vehicle, associated payloads, ground support equipment, the general public, public and private property, and the environment from hazards associated with European space systems.

The ECSS safety policy is applied by implementing a deterministic safety programme, supported by probabilistic risk assessment, which may be summarised as follows:

  • hazardous characteristics (system and environmental hazards) and functions with potentially hazardous failure effects are identified and progressively evaluated by iteratively performing systematic deterministic safety analyses.
  • the potential hazardous consequences associated with the system hazardous characteristics and functional failures are subjected to a hazard reduction sequence whereby:
    • hazards are eliminated from the system design and operations
    • hazards are minimised and
    • hazard controls are applied and verified.
  • The risks that remain after the application of a deterministic hazard elimination and reduction sequence are progressively assessed and subjected to probabilistic risk assessment, in order to:
    • show compliance with safety targets
    • support design trades;
    • identify and rank risk contributors;
    • support apportionment of project resources for risk reduction;
    • assess risk reduction progress;
    • support the safety and project decision making process (e.g. waiver approval, residual risk acceptance).
  • the adequacy of the hazard and risk control measures applied are formally verified in order to support safety validation and risk acceptance.
  • Safety compliance shall be assessed by the project, and safety certification shall be obtained from the relevant authorities.