Autonomous Flight Termination System (AFTS)

PI: Lisa Valencia, NASA/Kennedy Space Center

The AFTS is an independent launch vehicle subsystem designed for range safety operations. The system autonomously makes flight termination decisions using redundant computers that track the launch vehicle using Global Positioning System and Inertial Navigation System, along with configurable software-based rules. If a rocket goes off course, potentially endangering the public, the AFTS would issue a command to terminate the flight.

For more information, please see: AFTS 2019 briefing

Technology Areas (?)
  • NA
Problem Statement

The Autonomous Flight Termination System (AFTS) is an independent, self-contained subsystem mounted onboard a launch vehicle that autonomously makes flight termination / destruct decisions using configurable software-based rules implemented on redundant flight processors using data from redundant GPS/IMU navigation sensors.

Technology Maturation

Two units were flown on the UP Aerospace SL-12 launch and will be re-flown on UP Aerospace SL-14.

Future Customers

This device will help future NASA, industry and other government agencies missions.

Technology Details

  • Selection Date
    NASA Directed
  • Program Status
  • Current TRL (?)
    Successful FOP Flights
  • 1 sRLV

Development Team

Web Accessibility and Privacy Notices Curator: Alexander van Dijk Responsible NASA Official: Stephan Ord Last Update: November 16, 2018