ASTM International Develops New Practices for Design of Orbital and Suborbital Space Vehicles

ASTM International’s commercial spaceflight committee (F47) is developing new practices for the design of orbital and suborbital space vehicles. The proposed standards will address suggested best practices associated with the design of these vehicles including how well the vehicle accommodates and protects the crew and space flight participants during launch, flight, and return.

Specifically, the best practices described in the proposed standards (WK77620 and WK77622) include but are not limited to:

  • Requirements directly associated with the biological needs of the crew and participants;
  • Environmental conditions to which the crew and participants will be exposed during flight;
  • Supplies and vehicle features that are needed to support the crew and participants during emergencies;
  • Vehicle design features, including the physical design of the vehicle, mechanical and electrical systems, manual and automatic systems, crew and participant ergonomics, egress capabilities, working and resting facilities, materials and processes used in construction, and ability to withstand impact from debris, and;
  • Communication between the vehicle and ground control, communication among the crew/participants, and communication with rescue assets during emergencies.

Developing these practices is a part of ASTM’s efforts in creating consensus standards for use by the commercial spaceflight industry. These standards will include suggested practices identified by the FAA and COMSTAC, along with those that will be identified by the spacecraft operators and others. 

The proposed standards will be most useful to the designers and manufacturers of space vehicles, as well as to crews, spaceflight participants, mission managers, and personnel. The committee is currently looking for experts who have experience in the design and manufacture of space vehicles, those with medical and human factors understanding, and others who can contribute their knowledge or experience to the effort. 

ASTM welcomes participation in the development of its standards. Become a member at

Media Inquiries: Jaime Martorana, tel +1.610.832.9796;
Committee Contact: Katerina Koperna, tel +1.610.832.9728;

Release #11260


July 29, 2021