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NASA Taking Deep Space Safety Expertise to Probe Offshore Risks

The Department of Interior’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) is partnering with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to capitalize on best risk management approaches from the aeronautics industry to offshore worker and environmental safety.

The five-year agreement announced Thursday is designed to strengthen protections on the Outer Continental Shelf.

“Both BSEE and NASA work in harsh and uncompromising environments, relying on cutting edge technology to go deeper and further than previously thought possible,” said BSEE Director Brian Salerno. “This partnership brings together technical experts from BSEE and NASA to focus on the specific risks associated with offshore operations so that we can continue to find ways to improve safety for offshore workers and protect the environment.”

NASA agreed to assist BSEE in achieving three objectives:

  • Further develop risk management capability through NASA's probabilistic risk assessment technique;
  • Evaluate, design and test technologies and hardware, including emerging technologies and best available/safest technologies; and
  • Assess failures and near-miss occurrences using the resources of NASA's accredited failure analysis laboratory at the Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston.

NASA’s probabilistic risk assessment, a technique to quantitatively model risk, was used to model the Space Shuttle Program and is being used today for the International Space Station and Orion deep space capsule programs.

“Whether the task takes one to deep space or into the deep ocean, the analysis of the environment, training of personnel and risk mitigation factors are similar,” said JSC’s Jack James, technology transfer strategist.

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