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Quality Assurance Strategies for Class D Payloads. NASA Academy of Aerospace Quality (AAQ) Mini-Workshop March 22 nd , 2012 Jose Nunez, Ph.D., P.E. KSC/UB.

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Quality assurance strategies for class d payloads

Quality Assurance Strategies forClass 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

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

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


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…

"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

Topics once feared

  • 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

The quality policy document tree
The Quality Policy Document Tree once feared

Risk Classifications

NPR 8705.4

Credit: NASA Safety Center’s SMA Technical

Excellence Program (STEP)

Classification considerations for nasa class a d payloads npr 8705 4
Classification Considerations for once feared NASA Class A-D Payloads, NPR 8705.4

Ksc mentoring high school on cubesat mission initiative
KSC Mentoring High School on once feared 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 jettisoned)

  • 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)

Merritt island high school cubesat
Merritt Island High School once feared CubeSat


University Sat


Measure Vibration & Acceleration

Personal observations
Personal Observations once feared

  • 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 students

    • A plan that would include key elements of Project Mgmt, Safety & Quality Assurance along that of Testing and Validation.

Reflective questions
Reflective Questions once feared

  • Since Quality Assurance requirements are not as stringent for Class D payloads, should Universities self impose them?

  • 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?

  • Should I invest in a Quality Assurance Plan?

So strategically speaking
So, Strategically Speaking once feared

  • If am risk-averse, which additional requirements should I (as an University) look into having my Project Manager and Team be responsible for?

The quality policy document tree1
The Quality Policy Document Tree once feared

Risk Classifications

NPR 8705.4

General Safety Requirements

NPR 8715.3C

Credit: NASA Safety Center’s SMA Technical

Excellence Program (STEP)

Roles and responsibilities for nasa safety requirements npr 8715 3c
Roles and Responsibilities for NASA once feared Safety Requirements, NPR 8715.3C

Quality assurance plan
Quality Assurance Plan once feared

  • 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

      • Specifically, ways to document problems along with corrective actions

Access to nasa procedural requirements and policies
Access to NASA Procedural once feared Requirements and Policies

  • NASA Online Directive Information System or NODIS

    • http://nodis3.gsfc.nasa.gov/

Conclusion once feared

  • As Class D Payloads, think about if adding additional rigor to your Payload team is worth the invesment

Concluding thoughts
Concluding Thoughts once feared

"Everyone offers to carry her books? What you need is a better Quality Assurance proposition." Cartoon by C. Covert Darbyshire