Rocketry is undeniably a dangerous business. It combines two parameters that are indeed a dangerous mix, first, the delivery of high amounts of energy and second, the short amount of time. Since our team has a research character and apply experimental methods (tests, use of hazardous materials and explosives), a key operating factor is a safe working environment.
In this context, the Safety subsystem is called upon to ensure the protection of both personnel and equipment. The subsystem detects and studies the hazards in order to inform the team members about their limitation or prevention. The study is based on Νational and European legislation on the possession and use of explosives and extends to High-Power Safety Codes, as provided for by international organizations such as the National Association of Rocketry (NAR), the Tripoli Rocketry Association (TRA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
The activities of the group are divided on one hand into those of the launches and on the other hand, into those of the laboratory. Respectively, the responsibilities of our subgroup are distributed. More specifically, the Safety Officers of the team, who are fully informed about the risks and procedures, take care of the smooth conduct of the launches. Their responsibility is to monitor compliance with all precautionary measures. Otherwise, they have the right to veto the launch. The above is done after the preparation of Risk Assessment and Hazard Analysis with the participation of all members and the guidance of Safety Officers. There analyzes all the risks and their possible effects on the project, while ways to minimize them are suggested. Then the procedures are recorded step by step for each subsystem and checklists are made with the necessary equipment (materials, tools, etc.). Whenever necessary, Officers supervise the use of personal protective equipment and tools.
In the laboratory, the subsystem ensures the safe conduct of work and testing. It is preceded by the processing of all Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) and equipment manuals and then the information of the members. Our subsystem has taken care of posting the rules of the laboratory in the lab as well as the supply of personal protective equipment, fire extinguishers and a first-aid kit. In addition, risk prediction through the design of new projects plays an important role.
Finally, the Safety subsystem is essential to a High Power rocketry team, as it undertakes to continuously inform and educate members about the hazards. Safety is an integral part of engineering and science but also a necessary condition for the total operation of the team.