A Look Inside the 2014 Metrology and Calibration Working Group Meeting

A Look Inside the 2014 Metrology and Calibration Working Group Meeting

3-minute read
Working Groups: Metrology and Calibration

Metrology and calibration representatives from across the agency gathered at Langley Research Center (LaRC) in Hampton, Virginia, May 5-10 for the 2014 annual NASA Metrology and Calibration Working Group (MCWG) meeting.

"This meeting brings our individual center representation together to collaborate and problem solve for the betterment of everyone's metrology and calibration system," said newly elected MCWG Chair Shawn Britton.

Sharing Knowledge and Solutions

After opening remarks from Grant Watson, LaRC's director of Safety and Mission Assurance, and Jill Marlowe, LaRC's director of the Research Directorate, the group turned its focus to the final acceptance of a revised MCWG charter. The changes refine the group's specific functions and goals.

The meeting provided centers with an opportunity to share process improvements and technical innovations. The group also conducted open-forum, roundtable discussions on the agency's metrology and calibration future. Presentation and discussion topics included

  • American National Standards Institute (ANSI)/National Conference of Standards Laboratories (NCSL) Z540.3 implementation efforts
  • Measurement uncertainty calculation methodology and techniques
  • Best metrology and calibration practices
  • Centers' special and unique calibration capabilities
  • Programmable Josephson Voltage Standard project status
  • Advancements in measurement controls
  • Cost-reduction opportunities in the calibration of Measuring and Test Equipment (M&TE)

ANSI/NCSL Z540.3 Is Here

Throughout the meeting, the focus remained on ensuring each center's compliance with ANSI/ NCSL Z540.3, Requirements for the Calibration of Measuring and Test Equipment. NASA adopted Z540.3 in 2011 to enhance the quality of calibrations, and compliance is mandated in NASA Policy Directive 8730.1C, Metrology and Calibration. ANSI/NCSL Z540.3 compliant calibrations provide a level of M&TE service unparalleled in calibration with full improvements in measurement uncertainty reporting and equipment reliability metrics.

The standard has a June 2014 compliance date to ensure centers had ample time to implement the standard. With that date just around the corner, representatives at the meeting reported they were ready. However, if last minute concerns arise, the MCWG's specialized Z540.3 task group will be available to help centers complete their compliance. The task group, led by the Metrology and Calibration program office at Kennedy Space Center (KSC), will stay in effect until the group feels center compliance support is no longer necessary.

Measuring and Test Equipment in Action

Before the meeting concluded, attendees toured multiple facilities at LaRC, including the Orion Ground Test Article, which is undergoing instrumentation installation.

"It's exciting to see the Measuring and Test Equipment we focus our efforts on being put into action," said Britton. "Data quality, confidence and reliability are ultimately what this is all about."

Future Plans

During the meeting, the group identified projects for future focus. The MCWG will be reviewing and analyzing each center's metrology and calibration policy to determine best practices suited for agency-wide adoption. The group also will be creating an internal technical assessment program to assist centers with compliance to metrology and calibration-related policies and requirements.

The meeting concluded with two days of metrology-based training focused on aspects of ANSI/NCSL Z540.3 compliance, methods of evaluating calibration intervals and determination of measurement uncertainties.

MCWG Members

MCWG Members

About the MCWG

The NASA Metrology and Calibration program is a small group of metrology professionals that champion relevant activities and efforts across the agency. The program office is delegated to KSC and led by Ken Mathews, delegated metrology and calibration program manager. The Metrology and Calibration Working Group, founded in 1978, is a function of the Metrology and Calibration program. It facilitates actions and efforts across NASA while encouraging cross-sharing of information and resources. The group is comprised of government representatives, designated by the respective center director, and contracted calibration managers, as appropriate.