A general definition of initialization is that it begins at separation of the spacecraft (SC) from the launcher. In some cases, a more exact definition will be that initialization begins in flight, upon planned change in mode or state of the SC from the launch configuration. Commissioning is completed when the SC, including its payload, is certified for initial mission operations. Prior to certification for mission operations, the SC is described as a test article in the three parts of ISO 10784. ISO 10784 does not include a requirement for contingency plans, but does include a statement of the need for contingency planning.
ISO 10784-3:2011 outlines general descriptive information for SC initialization and commissioning as might be appropriate for programme management, project engineering or programme test documentation. Since the SC is considered a test article at this phase of its operational life, ISO 17566 is used as a normative reference in constructing the commissioning report. It provides SC manufacturers, SC operators and other stakeholders with a common language and form to verify and document spacecraft initialization and commissioning prior to normal SC mission operations.