Missions and Programs Assessment Division

The Missions and Programs Assessment Division (MPAD) is the primary interface between the Office of Safety and Mission Assurance and the NASA Mission Directorates. MPAD supports the formulation and implementation of Safety and Mission Assurance objectives and requirements by the directorates and human spaceflight enterprises. 

Who We Are

The Missions and Programs Assessment Division (MPAD) ensures the stability, capability and implementation of an effective Safety and Mission Assurance (SMA) program, which includes Safety, Reliability, Quality Assurance and Risk Management tailored to mission directorate programs and projects. MPAD also monitors compliance of mission directorate SMA processes with NASA policies and guidance, assuring that mission directorates achieve their safety and mission success objectives.

What We Do

The Missions and Programs Assessment Division (MPAD)

  • Evaluates and informs Office of Safety and Mission Assurance (OSMA) leadership about the implementation of Safety and Mission Assurance (SMA) functions by mission and programs
  • Assures the definition, application and implementation of SMA policies and standards for agency programs and missions throughout the program/mission life cycle
  • Assists in the development of agency and OSMA policy, including updates to the National Space Policy
  • Maintains and coordinates Safety and Mission Success Reviews and the NASA Safety Reporting System
  • Assesses and positively influences agency Safety Culture

For example

  • For the Commercial Crew Program (CCP), MPAD worked with the program to ensure applicable Human Rating requirements were flowed down, engaged in working groups to determine proper implementation and recommended approval of CCP’s Human Rating Certification for the first crewed mission
  • For Artemis, MPAD worked with the broader SMA community to recommend agency risk tolerance thresholds and goals for Artemis II missions and beyond and worked on the flowdown of applicable SMA requirements to crewed deep space missions
  • MPAD spearheaded the review of several commercial launch licenses, ranging from International Space Station resupply missions to pad abort tests to ensure safety of NASA assets, both on the ground and in space
  • In the science arena, MPAD reviewed and commented on safety products for several science missions in preparation for life cycle Key Decision Points, including James Webb Space Telescope, Mars 2020 and Europa
  • On the aeronautics side, MPAD was a key member on several operational safety reviews for NASA aircraft and participated in design and development reviews for NASA’s newest aircraft
  • MPAD conducted several Organizational Safety Assessments, Safety Culture Surveys and Safety Culture trainings across the agency

MPAD staff are involved in many types of working groups and decision meetings. The three most formal include

  • Acquisition Strategy and Procurement Strategy Meetings
    • Gets involved in strategy meetings as early as possible to provide feedback and recommendations to the mission directorate on SMA issues
    • Provides or coordinates pre-briefs to the chief and provides recommendations regarding SMA suitability of the strategy for formal meetings
  • Agency and Directorate Program Management Councils
    • Prepares OSMA for Key Decision Points or other major program decision recommendations
    • Provides or coordinates pre-briefs to the chief or delegated representative and, along with program and project Chief Safety Officers and program and project SMA personnel, provides recommendations regarding SMA
  • Mission Directorate Baseline Performance Reviews (BPRs)
    • Serves as one of three major assessors for associate administrator-level BPRs


The Missions and Programs Assessment Division (MPAD) contributes to an increased probability of safety and success for all NASA missions by facilitating the planning, monitoring the execution, and evaluating the performance of Safety and Mission Assurance and related processes for NASA's mission directorates, programs, projects and institutions.


MPAD’s vision is to be a “Yes, If” culture and to support missions and programs while putting in place the right safety measures. In this way, MPAD keeps people safe while enabling the success of the one-of-a-kind missions that have brought innumerable benefits to the United States and the world.


Johnny Nguyen

Johnny Nguyen

MPAD Director

Johnny Nguyen is the director of the Office of Safety and Mission Assurance Missions and Programs Assessment Division (MPAD) at NASA Headquarters.

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