A Proposal of a Life-Cycle for the Development of Sounding Rockets Missions

Felipe da Motta Silva, Leonel Fernando Perondi


Suborbital flight experiments, carried out through sounding rockets, have been employed for scientific and technological research since the beginning of the space age, in the late 1950s. In Brazil, sounding rocket campaigns have been carried out since 1965, when the Centro de Lançamento Barreira do Inferno (CLBI) began its operation, having the Instituto de Aeronáutica e Espaço (IAE)as the primary provider of vehicles. IAE has also provided vehicles for international programs, such as the TEXUS and MASER microgravity programs, implemented by the European Space Agency (ESA), with launching campaigns based in the European territory. To implement each Brazilian mission that uses IAE’s sounding rockets, a set of activities focused on mission objectives is planned and implemented. Although structured and executed quite similarly to a project, such sounding rocket campaigns do not have their complete life-cycle studied and formally described in phases, review meetings, management processes and verification and validation philosophy. In the present work, the attempt has been to characterize a sounding rocket mission as a project and then, based on European Cooperation for Space Standardization (ECSS) standards, propose a reduced life-cycle to develop such projects, tailored to meet Brazilian sounding rocket missions. The proposed life-cycle, adapted to Brazilian sounding rocket missions, is then compared with two other sounding rocket campaigns life-cycles: one from the European Programme for Life and Physical Sciences in Space and the other from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) sounding rocket program. The study and availability of a framework for implementing and managing sounding rocket missions will improve the reliability of such endeavors and speed up their organization.


Project life-cycle; Project management; Rocket mission

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