October 9, 2007
A number of questions related to the failure investigation process have been asked by several customers. In response, we provide the explanations below:
1) Following a Proton failure, what is the sequence of events to return to flight for commercial missions?
A Russian State Failure Commission is formed immediately after the incident to investigate the cause of the failure.
While the State Commission is meeting, ILS creates an independent Failure Review Oversight Board (FROB). ILS also drafts and submits a Technical Assistance Agreement with the U.S. Department of State, and obtains additional licenses to brief the results of the failure review to the customer and insurance communities.
After the State Commission concludes its investigation and results and corrective actions are approved, the Proton is cleared for return to flight for Russian federal missions.
The ILS FROB convenes with a briefing on the findings of the State Commission.
After the FROB concludes, ILS briefs the results of its independent review to our partners, customers and the insurance community.
The Proton is then returned to commercial flight, with customer concurrence, as soon as possible.
2) Following a Proton failure what is the function and composition of the Russian State Commission?
The Russian State Commission is formed to investigate the root cause of the failure and determine any necessary corrective actions for subsequent launches. The commission is made up of top Russian space, military and other industry and government professionals. ([/stories/jsat911statecomm/ Click here] for a listing of the members of the Russian State Commission.)
3) Why doesnï¿½t ILS (or other parties of interest) participate directly in the State Commission?
Russian regulatory guidelines preclude ILS from participating in the technical investigation of the Russian State Commission. It is important to note that the members of the FROB must be fully satisfied with the conclusions and recommendations of the Russian State Commission before ILS returns Proton to flight for commercial missions. The FROB receives an initial briefing of the findings of the State Commission and has an opportunity to ask questions and determine how the Commission arrived at its conclusions. Data and physical evidence may also be provided to the members of the FROB to assist in their deliberations.
4) What is the function of the Failure Review Oversight Board (FROB)?
The FROB is chartered to independently review the methods, conclusions and corrective action recommendations of the Russian commissionï¿½s investigation, and to report on its findings. The FROB does not conduct its own investigation. ILS obtains regulatory approval from the U.S. government for the FROB to engage in detailed discussions with Khrunichev and other Russian parties regarding the investigation of the failure.
5) What is typically the composition of the FROB?
The FROB framework is established as part of the Proton Failure Contingency Plan for every mission. Membership typically includes the ILS CTO and industry specialists in the area of concern, as well as ex-officio representatives of the affected mission and the return-to-flight customer, and representation from the insurance community.
FROB membership for the JCSAT-11 failure is as follows:
The Chairman is Jim Bonner, ILS Vice President of Programs and Operations and Chief Technical Officer. Kevin Sloan, ILS Launch Operations Director, is executive secretary. The composition of the FROB includes three industry specialists (voting members), plus representatives from the affected mission and the return-to-flight mission and an insurance industry representative ï¿½ all of whom serve in an ex-officio, non-voting capacity.
6) What happens after the FROB completes its assessment?
Once the FROB completes its deliberations and is satisfied with the findings and corrective action recommendations of the Russian State Commission, it prepares its final report. Briefings on the findings, under separate U.S. government authority, are then given by ILS to the insurance community and to the commercial customers on the ILS manifest.