NASA-STD-8729.1A, Reliability and Maintainability Revision Overview

NASA-STD-8729.1A, Reliability and Maintainability Revision Overview

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The NASA Reliability and Maintainability (R&M) program recently released Revision A to NASA-STD-8729.1, NASA Reliability and Maintainability Standard for Spaceflight and Support Systems. The standard provides a comprehensive set of R&M objectives and strategies that spaceflight programs and projects can tailor as needed to ensure R&M is designed and built into their systems.

The standard was updated to better align with the objectives-based program- and project-management approach outlined in NPR 7120.5, NASA Space Flight Program and Project Management Requirements. The update now includes an objectives hierarchy, which outlines specific R&M considerations that all NASA projects and programs need to address in their planning, implementation and evaluation activities.

“This [objectives-hierarchy] approach has garnered significant interest in the NASA community,” said John Evans, Reliability and Maintainability program manager. “The revised standard is an innovation for Safety and Mission Assurance disciplines and leads the way in advancing the vision of objectives-based standards.” 

The standard includes broad technical objectives and strategies that impact reliability, but it is not meant to prescribe specific processes. Rather, the information can be tailored per risk classification and acceptable risk posture as appropriate to incorporate R&M into program and project activities. The standard also lists recommended R&M evidence (including controls, analysis, testing and inspection) that R&M engineers, and other relevant technical disciplines, can integrate into the planning, execution and evaluation of a program or project over its life cycle.

An experienced team of R&M engineers from NASA centers developed the revision to provide a comprehensive view of the agency’s R&M needs. The team systemically structured the standard to link programs and projects to NASA’s top-level R&M objective: to satisfy mission requirements for Safety, Reliability, Maintainability and Quality over the life cycle. The standard uses an innovative matrix concept to connect specific program or project activities to the objectives for varying levels of risk postures including human flight, class A to D robotics missions, and tech demos.

“The objectives-hierarchy approach is rooted in systems thinking and is compatible with innovations emerging in the fields of systems engineering and risk management,” Evans said.

According to Evans, the paper, Identifying Where Mission Assurance Can Benefit from Model Based Systems Engineering, presented at the AIAA 2016 Space Forum last September, demonstrates how the objectives hierarchy can be used to effectively provide reliability feedback and guide advanced approaches, such as Model-Based Systems Engineering, Model-Based Mission Assurance and assurance case development.

“The implementation of this revised standard will promote technical excellence in the field and will enable innovations as well,” Evans said. “OSMA [Office of Safety and Mission Assurance] looks forward to continuing to promote the objectives-based approach in standards across the disciplines to enable the success of our missions.”  

If you have questions about this standard, contact Evans.

For More Information

Austin RA, Mahadevan N, Sierawski BD, et al. A CubeSat-Payload Radiation-Reliability Assurance Case Using Goal Structuring Notation. January 2017.

Groen FJ, Evans JW, Hall AJ. A Vision for Spaceflight Reliability: NASA’s Objectives Based Strategy. February 2015.

Office of Safety and Mission Assurance. OSMA Introduces New Objectives Based Strategies. December 2014.