Kennedy's Environmental Program

Sustainable Environment Management System (SEMS)

Kennedy Space Center (KSC) is uniquely located within the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge (MINWR). The executive managers and all employees at Kennedy are committed to protecting, preserving, enhancing, and restoring the quality of the environment while achieving our mission activities. It is the responsibility of every Kennedy employee to ensure that their work activities are conducted in a manner that supports environmental leadership at Kennedy. We shall do this by following the actions set forth in the environmental policy below.

  • Ensure Compliance – Ensure compliance through a proactive, systematic approach that integrates environmental management system elements into Kennedy operations and practices to comply with all environmental laws, regulations, policies, Executive Orders, and NASA’s environmental directives, procedures, and requirements
  • Conserve Resources – Conduct Kennedy operations in a manner that protects and enhances Kennedy’s unique environmental resources through the efficient use of natural resources and energy
  • Prevent Pollution – Reduce the use and emission of toxic materials, minimize waste generation, and improve Kennedy recycling efforts through recovery, reuse, and purchase of environmentally preferable products
  • Restore Environmentally Contaminated Areas – Clean up, enhance, and restore the environmental quality of Kennedy areas which have been adversely impacted by Kennedy operations
  • Continually Improve Environmental Performance – Continually review and improve the Kennedy Environmental Management System and environmental performance by such means as developing and sharing innovative technologies and by enhancing environmental science through partnerships with other governmental agencies, academia, and other organizations
Structure and Responsibility

Kennedy SEMS establishes roles and responsibilities for environmental management and provides appropriate resources for their execution. The following are some examples of such roles and the corresponding responsibilities:

  • A Kennedy SEMS Representative manages the SEMS and reports to Senior Management and NASA Headquarters
  • A Senior Management council examines SEMS performance and the results of functional assessments and audits
  • An SEMS Core Team, consisting of individuals from operations across the Center, works to develop and implement SEMS procedures and assists in reviewing and evaluating SEMS performance
Environmental Training, Awareness and Competence

All employees and contractors must be trained and capable of fulfilling their environmental responsibilities. This is achieved by incorporating SEMS information into new or transferred employee training and refresher programs for existing status.


In order for effective and efficient operation, methods for external and internal communication are outlined in the Kennedy SEMS. This is essential in order to ensure that information about the management system is disseminated to all employees and stakeholders. Internal communication is targeted at Kennedy employees, customers, and suppliers and includes information on applicable legal and regulatory compliance. External communication is focused on neighbors, community organizations, environmental groups, the media and the general public.

Checking and Corrective Action

The focus of Kennedy SEMS is continual improvement. Opportunities for improvement in operations and management are identified through a process of discovering problems, investigating their underlying causes, identifying and implementing corrective and preventive actions, and tracking these actions to verify their effectiveness.

Monitoring and Measurements

One method of checking the effectiveness of Kennedy SEMS is through the monitoring of activities and tracking of performance in relation to the goals set during the planning phase. Documented procedures are established and maintained to track, monitor, and measure characteristics of the operations associated with SEMS objectives and targets and high-priority impacts. Examples of procedures that may include monitoring and measurement requirements are Standard Operating Procedures, Performance Plans, and Inspection Records.

Nonconformance, Corrective and Preventative Action

After an internal or external audit, Kennedy is able to identify areas for improvement in environmental performance and in the operation and documentation of the SEMS and environmental performance. Kennedy strives to minimize nonconformance by changing or updating elements of the SEMS or providing additional training. Identifying the problem allows Kennedy to develop a solution and prevent reoccurrence by documenting corrective and preventive actions.

SEMS Audit

NASA has a formal Agency-wide audit program to be used for assessing the SEMS at Kennedy. NASA assesses actual performance against identified policies, programs, objectives, and targets and then provides feedback to Kennedy. Kennedy also internally review its SEMS for continual improvement.

Management Review

Management periodically reviews Kennedy SEMS for its performance both center and NASA-wide on an annual basis, though Kennedy may choose to review more frequently. Management review assesses the suitability, adequacy, and effectiveness of the SEMS.

Laws and Requirements
Additional Information