Space Flight and Space Technology
Safety and Mission Assurance
NASA continued to emphasize a strong contributing safety, reliability, and quality assurance (SR&QA) presence within current and future flight projects. In FY 1995, seven Space Shuttle missions, including the historic Space Shuttle/Mir rendezvous and docking missions, were completed safely and successfully. NASA initiated new quality management support activities and integrated SR&QA expertise into its aeronautics, microgravity programs, Mission to Planet Earth (MTPE), access to space and space processing activities, and space science programs. NASA SR&QA experts supported critical design reviews, program design reviews, independent assessments, and technical reviews for safety and mission assurance and guided the development of quality plans for new aeronautics programs.
The International Space Station independent assessment activity resulted in technical and management improvements in such areas as end-of-life disposal, microgravity reliability, supportability/availability for microgravity, integrated test and verification planning, and configuration and risk-management processes. Also, the Station's software independent verification and validation (IV&V) activity found and helped the program correct several critical flight software problems.
In the safety policy, requirements, and standards area, NASA updated its emergency program plan and developed new preparedness exercises to heighten its emergency response capabilities. NASA worked closely with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in planning and executing "Response '95," the largest peacetime emergency preparedness exercise ever accomplished. NASA developed an international agreement with Japan on hydrogen and oxygen propellant explosions tests. The work done under this agreement will result in further understanding and better definition of safety requirements for protecting against these types of explosions. Additionally, NASA promulgated standards and guidelines addressing software safety, orbital debris risk assessment, and risk assessment for large-scale programs.
NASA promoted International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9000 as NASA's standard for quality management systems and inaugurated the NASA Engineering and Quality Audit and Advance Quality Concepts programs to improve the way it does business with its industry and educational institution partners. NASA conducted developmental work on new SR&QA tools, such as hand-held fire detection cameras, the spacecraft test effectiveness program, and improved electrical, electronic, and electromechanical parts qualification to set the stage for further reduced costs with improved safety and reliability in flight vehicles and payloads. The NASA-wide safety, reliability, maintainability, and quality assurance installation self-assessments and Headquarters spot checks continued to serve as effective assessment tools. NASA placed additional emphasis on safety training and professional development, and NASA's cost of quality workshops for program and system managers continued to provide value-added, practical tools for improving performance while reducing costs.
NASA's software assurance and software IV&V efforts included a comprehensive assessment of software for the ISS Interim Design Review 1 and software assessments for Space Shuttle flights and wind tunnel control systems. The NASA Software IV&V Facility in Fairmont, West Virginia, was selected to become the NASA Center of Excellence for software IV&V.
Curator: Lillian Gipson|
Last Updated: September 5, 1996
For more information contact Steve Garber, NASA History Office,