Rocketry is undeniably a dangerous occupation, even at a university level. It combines two parameters that are indeed a dangerous mix, first, the delivery and management of high amounts of energy and second, the short processing time. Since our team has a research character and apply experimental methods (tests, use of hazardous materials and explosives), operates with a view to maintain a safe working environment.
In this context, the Safety sub-team is called upon to ensure the protection of human resources and the integrity of the equipment. Safety members detect, study Rocketry hazards and get informed about them in order to determine the safe operating framework of the team. The study is based on Νational and European legislation on the possession and use of explosives and extends to regulations of High-Power Rocketry, as provided 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 to launches and to laboratory work. Respectively, the responsibilities of our sub-team are distributed. More specifically, the team’s Safety Officers, who are fully informed about the risks and procedures, take care of the smooth conduction of the launches. Their responsibility is to monitor compliance with all precautionary measures. Otherwise, they have the right to veto the launch. The above are applied after the preparation of Risk Assessment and Hazard Analysis with the participation of all members and the guidance of Safety Officers. There, all the risks and their possible effects on the project are analyzed, while ways to minimize them are suggested. Then the procedures are recorded step by step for each sub-team and checklists are made with the necessary equipment (materials, tools, etc.). Whenever it’s necessary, Officers supervise the use of personal protective equipment and tools.
In the laboratory, Safety 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 all team’s members. Our sub-team has taken care of posting laboratory’s rules 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 sub-team 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 overall functionality of an organized set.