Payload Quality Assurance - Academy of Aerospace Quality

Quality Assurance Strategies
Class D Payloads
NASA Academy of Aerospace Quality (AAQ) Mini-Workshop
March 22nd, 2012
Jose Nunez, Ph.D., P.E.
"What I lack in Quality Assurance requirements,
I more than make up for in my uncanny ability to
know my limitations."
Cartoon by P.C. Vey
Page No. 2
“Strategists point out that the highest returns
come when a company focuses on a single
strategy, commits fully to it, and aligns all
resources accordingly.
When you look back at companies that have
been successful, they often appear to have
used this strategy.”
– Harvard Business Review, June 2008
Page No. 3
However, investing in the big opportunity
brings along a chance for the big catastrophe.
As Michael Raynor argues in The Strategy
“the real world in general, and competitive
markets in particular, are filled with great
unknowns, the same focus and commitment
that promise the highest return also carry the
greatest risk of failure.”
Raynor further suggests that CEOs “should
focus not only in achieving results but managing
Page No. 4
A century ago, Andrew Carnegie had this
“Concentrate your energies, your
thoughts, and your capital. The wise
man puts all his eggs in one basket and
watches the basket.”
But of course the risk, now and then, is that
no matter how attentive and focused we
are, the basket we’re watching could end up
being the wrong one…
Page No. 5
"The key difference with the new Strategy
is that what we once feared most, is now
our best-case scenario."
Cartoon & Caption by P.C. Vey
Page No. 6
• Quality Requirements - The Quality Policy
Document Tree
• NASA Class A-D Payloads
– Risk Classifications for NASA Payloads, NPR 8705.4
• Reflective Questions
• High School CubeSat initiative
• NASA General Safety Program Requirements,
NPR 8715.3C
• Quality Assurance Plans, NPR 8735.2
• Concluding Thoughts
Page No. 7
The Quality Policy Document Tree
NPR 8705.4
Credit: NASA Safety Center’s SMA Technical
Excellence Program (STEP)
Page No. 8
Classification Considerations for
NASA Class A-D Payloads, NPR 8705.4
Class A
Class B
Priority (Criticality to
High priority, very low High priority, low risk
Agency Strategic Plan) and
(minimized) risk
Acceptable Risk Level
Class D
Medium priority,
medium risk
Low priority, high risk
National significance
Very high
Low to medium
Very high to high
High to medium
Medium to low
Medium to low
Mission Lifetime (Primary
Baseline Mission
Launch Constraints
Long, >5years
Medium, 2-5 years
Short, <2 years
Short < 2 years
High to medium
Medium to low
Few to none
In-Flight Maintenance
Not feasible or difficult
Maybe feasible
Alternative Research
Opportunities or Re-flight
Achievement of Mission
Success Criteria
No alternative or reflight opportunities
Few or no alternative
or re-flight
Stringent assurance
standards with only
minor compromises in
application to maintain
a low risk to mission
Page No. 9
Class C
May be feasible and
Some or few
Significant alternative or
alternative or re-flight re-flight opportunities
Medium risk of not
Medium or significant
achieving mission
risk of not achieving
success may be
mission success is
acceptable. Reduced
permitted. Minimal
assurance standards assurance standards
are permitted.
are permitted.
All practical
measures are taken
to achieve minimum
risk to mission
success. The highest
assurance standards
are used.
HST, Cassini, JIMO, MER, MRO, Discovery
ESSP, Explorer
payloads, ISS Facility Payloads, MIDEX,
Class Payloads,
ISS complex subrack demonstrators, simple
Attached ISS payloads
ISS, express middeck
and subrack payloads,
KSC Mentoring High School on
CubeSat Mission Initiative
Primary mission objectives
• Measure launch vehicle shock and vibration
environments during ascent to better quantify
flight environments
• Have an image on the aft face of the cube that
can be captured by the 2U CubeSat (once
• Demonstrate RF transmission of a CubeSat within
a P-POD with less than 1 Watt during launch
vehicle ascent.
• To be originated & developed by Merritt Island
High School (Mascot: Mustangs, thus Stang-Sat)
Page No. 10
Merritt Island High School CubeSat
Measure Vibration & Acceleration
Page No. 11
Personal Observations
Found myself questioning every requirement
– Determining whether they were value-added
or just documentation based
– Mindset of “the less requirements the better”
Momentarily forgot the benefits of developing a
thought out plan would be for the high school
– A plan that would include key elements of
Project Mgmt, Safety & Quality Assurance
along that of Testing and Validation.
Page No. 12
Reflective Questions
1. Since Quality Assurance requirements are not
as stringent for Class D payloads, should
Universities self impose them?
2. As a stakeholder University, wouldn’t you want
to hold the Project Manager accountable to
some of the same standards, particularly as
they apply to Safety & Quality Assurance?
3. Should I invest in a Quality Assurance Plan?
Page No. 13
So, Strategically Speaking
• If am risk-averse, which additional requirements
should I (as an University) look into having my
Project Manager and Team be responsible for?
Page No. 14
The Quality Policy Document Tree
NPR 8705.4
Credit: NASA Safety Center’s SMA Technical
Excellence Program (STEP)
Page No. 15
General Safety
NPR 8715.3C
Roles and Responsibilities for NASA
Safety Requirements, NPR 8715.3C
Responsible Entity
NPR 8715.3C Paragraph
Project Managers 1.3.1, 1.3.2, 1.5.2,,,,,, 1.7.4, 1.13.4,
1.14.3, 2.2.1,,,,
3.5.1, 3.8.2, 3.9.2,,,
3.10.1, 3.11.1, 3.11.2, 3.12.2,,,, 3.14.2,,,,,,
3.15.3, 3.15.4,,,, 3.17.4, 4.2.1, 7.2.1, 7.4.1,, 7.5.3, 7.6.1, 9.2.1, 9.2.2,
9.3.1, 9.5.1, 9.5.2, 9.6.1, 9.7.1, 10.2.5,
10.3, 11.3.5
Page No. 16
Quality Assurance Plan
• Key item:
– Research examples and/or methods (as those
listed in NPR 8735.2) for incorporating a
Quality Assurance Plan (similar to a Project
Plan) for your Payload
o Specifically, ways to document problems
along with corrective actions
Page No. 17
Access to NASA Procedural
Requirements and Policies
• NASA Online Directive Information System or
Page No. 18
• As Class D Payloads, think about if adding
additional rigor to your Payload team is worth the
Page No. 19
Concluding Thoughts
"Everyone offers to carry her books? What you
need is a better Quality Assurance proposition."
Cartoon by C. Covert Darbyshire
Page No. 20

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