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NASA Quality Program




January 29, 2015



NASA must contract to produce, and continually improve, safe, reliable products that meet or exceed customer and regulatory requirements. The globalization of the aerospace industry, and the resulting diversity of regional/national requirements and expectations, has complicated this objective. Aerospace organizations face the challenge of assuring the quality of, and integrating, product purchased from suppliers throughout the world and at all levels within the supply chain. NASA faces the challenges of reducing operational and institutional burdens, knowledge loss, aging infrastructure, parts obsolescence, and a shrinking industrial base. The implementation of a thorough, disciplined, risk based approach to quality is fundamental to mission success and safety. The tools, techniques, technology, policy, procedures and training necessary to achieve efficient and effective quality requires coordination across the Agency and with Industry. The NASA Quality Program combines the capability of multiple quality groups to address various areas of consideration. Click on the links below to learn more about the NASA Quality Program and working groups.


NASA has adopted the Society of Automotive Engineers Aerospace Standard (AS) 9100, Quality Systems - Aerospace - Model for Quality Assurance in Design, Development, Production, Installation and Servicing.
quality clauses
Recommended practices for inserting quality statements into purchase orders or contract "terms and conditions" (often referred to a "quality clauses" for contracts) have been developed for use as a best practices approach. These statement have been developed to reduce confusion and uncertainty associated with quality requirement flow down within the aerospace industry. These recommended statements should be considered on a case-by-case basis and applied where appropriate as an alternate to one-off phraseology intended to convey the same meaning. An AAQG work team is currently reviewing these statements for publication as an aerospace recommended practice.
The agency-wide Joint Audit Planning Committee (JAPC) is a committee that coordinates the planning, scheduling, monitoring and management of supplier audit activity. This committee coordinates within NASA, with other government agencies, and where appropriate the industry sector in order to reduce unnecessary duplication of limited resources while improving viability into available data (per the guidance provided in the Code of Federal Regulation). The committed utilizes the NASA Supplier Assessment System (SAS) as a database that focuses on providing information about supplier utilization, certification status, and status of assessment activities. The JAPC web site and SAS database are restricted to ".gov" use.
The Workmanship team is an aerospace working group that addresses workmanship standards and training for mission critical space flight hardware and associated ground support systems. The team supports research and development of workmanship issues and concerns unique to the space industry. Promotes continuous improvement and industry accountability for workmanship. Provides information on best practices, lessons learned, and specific information on the unique requirements associated with space flight. Explains "why" space flight has unique workmanship requirements so that individual projects and programs can review their risk against the requirements and tailor accordingly. NASA's goal is to utilize and leverage other agency and industry based standards, training, and technical resources where available to meet NASA's needs. The workmanship team assists in that effort.
nepp nepag
NASA EEE Parts Assurance (NEPAG) and NASA EEE Parts and Packaging (NEPP) groups are working group that provides knowledge, tools, information, and access to resources to enable the project EEE parts engineers and parts specialists to optimally support the project and program needs. NEPAG/NEPP coordinate EEE parts issues, implements IT systems and tools to assist in assurance activities, creates a knowledge base of EEE parts vender quality, develops assurance tools for COTS parts, establishes guidelines and procedures for EEE parts qualification, and partners with DoD, Industry, and other related Agencies with respect to EEE issues and concerns.
Process Control is an essential element of managing risk to guarantee the continued safety and reliability of the space flight. Good process control measures can aid in the prevention of process escapes that may result in or contribute to in-flight anomalies, mishaps, incidents and nonconformance's. The mission of the Space Shuttle Program Process Control Focus Group is to reduce risk by reducing and/or eliminating process escapes. Space Shuttle Program PCFG communication and information sharing promotes the continued implementation of world-class process control standards.
supplier outreach & process control
The process control outreach team provides process control outreach and education to industry, universities, and non-profit organizations that provide space flight related products and services to NASA. It is an extension of the work performed by the Space Shuttle Program PCFG. The team develops and makes available a range of products from general awareness information to on-site assessment and follow on support.
The Americas Aerospace Quality Group (AAQG) is a subcommittee of the Society of Automotive Engineering (SAE) Aerospace Council. Membership of the AAQG includes key representatives from the Aerospace community. The mission of the AAQG is: Consistent satisfaction of Customer expectations through a government and industry partnership using world-class quality processes and practices. This is accomplished by: minimizing or eliminating unique non-value added differences in the Quality Systems Requirements (QSR) imposed on the aerospace community; defining and promulgating a common operational definition of those QSR elements important to aerospace which are insufficiently defined by other national or international standards; and proactively integrating government agency quality system requirements for the aerospace industry. NASA coordinates with the AAQG to better understand industry quality concerns and to facilitate NASA's understanding and recognition of industry based practices as they apply to meeting Agency quality requirements.

Nadcap is an industry third party auditing and supplier accreditation program for assuring supplier conformance with special manufacturing processes. Examples of special processes accredited by Nadcap include welding, machining, heat treating, materials testing and non-destructive testing.  Technical experts from private industry and the Government collaboratively develop standardized audit criteria for special process accreditation. Nadcap is administered by not-for-profit Performance Review Institute (PRI). On request from a supplier, PRI schedules and conducts audits with formally qualified auditor(s) using an industry developed checklist.  Non-conformity issues identified during audits are required to be documented, corrected by the supplier, and formally accepted by a Special Process Task Group prior to closeout and supplier accreditation. General information concerning Nadcap can be found at the following site: http://www.pri-network.org/Nadcap/ .

The Product Data Reporting and Evaluation Program (PDREP) is an automated information system managed by the Navy Sea Logistics Center Detachment Portsmouth. PDREP tracks quality and delivery performance on material/services procured by participating Government agencies. Data is collected and is maintained in the following records on the database: Contractor CAGE Information, Debarment/Suspension, Contract Delivery Data, DLA Contractor Alert List, GIDEP, Alerts, Material Inspection Records, Product Quality Deficiency Reports, Qualified Product List, Special Quality Data, Surveys, and Test Reports. The application offers a wide selection of standard, management, and graphical reports. NASA is a member of PDREP and is developing methods to utilize PEDREP data as an input into surveillance activities. General information about PDREP can be found at the following link. Access to the actual PDREP database is restricted to authorized individuals.
Coming Soon
There are 50+ universities that have contracts, grants, and co-operative agreements with NASA to provide products and services that support space flight experimentation. As the Nation’s leading organization for research and development in aeronautics and space, NASA has unique tools, capability, experiences, and perspective that can benefit these organizations in the work that they perform, and to help them prepare the next generation of space explorers. The Academy of Aerospace Quality is intended to combine academic curricula with hands on mentoring (by subject area) to enhance knowledge and understanding at the university level of aerospace quality disciplines. The academy will utilize NASA quality information (such as the information on workmanship, assessment, and EEE parts listed above) with hands on real world examples to help universities understand and teach the unique quality needs of space flight, and help prepare the next generation of aerospace technicians, engineers, and scientist. This work has just been initiated, and additional information on the academy will be available in Fall 2003.

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