Systems Engineering Seminar

Risk Classification and Risk-based Safety and Mission Assurance

Presented by:
Jesse Leitner, PhD / Chief Safety and Mission Assurance Engineer

Monday, December 15, 2014, 1:00 pm
Building 3 Auditorium


Recent activities to revamp and emphasize the need to streamline processes and activities for Class D missions across the agency have led to various interpretations of Class D, including the lumping of a variety of low-cost projects into Class D. Sometimes terms such as “Class D minus” are used. In this presentation, mission risk classifications will be traced to official requirements and definitions as a measure to ensure that projects and programs align with the guidance and requirements that are commensurate for their defined risk posture. As part of this, the full suite of risk classifications, formal and informal will be defined, followed by an introduction to the new GPR 8705.4 that is currently under review.

GPR 8705.4 lays out guidance for the mission success activities performed at the Classes A-D for NPR 7120.5 projects as well as for projects not under NPR 7120.5. Furthermore, the trends in stepping from Class A into higher risk posture classifications will be discussed. The talk will conclude with a discussion about risk-based safety and mission assurance at GSFC.



Jesse Leitner is the Chief Safety and Mission Assurance Engineer for NASA Goddard, responsible for the technical direction for NASA GSFC’s Directorate for Safety and Mission Assurance (SMA). In this role, he develops policies and procedures to ensure technical excellence and engineering integrity for SMA practices across GSFC; coordinates, recommends solutions for, and reports on problems and issues across the Center; and facilitates technical coordination for activities in engineering, SMA, and projects and programs at GSFC. He has previously served at GSFC as the chief engineer for the Mission Engineering and Systems Analysis division and as the GSFC lead for Distributed Space Systems. Before coming to GSFC he worked on space flight dynamics and control, control of large optical systems, and hyperspectral imaging modeling and simulation at the Air Force Phillips Lab and the Air Force Research Laboratory. He currently serves and has previously served on numerous standing review boards and independent review teams, and he has chaired national and international conferences in the areas of spacecraft guidance, navigation, and control, and formation flying. Jesse holds a Ph D in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Tech in the area of Flight Mechanics and Control, an MS in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Tech as well, and a BS in Aerospace Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin.


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