Metrology and Calibration Program Cancelled NPD and Created New Technical Standard

Metrology and Calibration Program Cancelled NPD and Created New Technical Standard

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NPD 8730.5 and NASA-STD-8739-12

Update: NPR 8735.2, Hardware Quality Assurance Program Requirements for Programs and Projects, superseded NPD 8730.5B on Sept. 10, 2021.

At the recommendation of the NASA Metrology and Calibration (MetCal) Program, the Office of Safety and Mission Assurance cancelled NPD 8730.1, Metrology and Calibration and transferred the content to a new NASA standard, NASA-STD-8739.12, Metrology and Calibration, which went into effect Jan. 23, 2018. NPD 8730.5, NASA Quality Assurance Program Policy will carry the remaining MetCal policy language that was not transferred to NASA-STD-8739.12.

The creation of the standard and subsequent changes to the NASA Policy Directive (NPD) support the effort to ensure NPDs focus on policy and standards contain specific technical requirements.

NPD 8730.5B

NPD 8730.5B is now the primary policy document that establishes and flows down the Metrology and Calibration assurance requirements. The following changes are included in Revision B:

  • The following policy statement was added in section 1, Policy; paragraph 1.b., It is NASA policy for quality assurance programs to; (14): “Ensure the accuracy of measurements affecting safety and mission success through the proper selection, calibration, and use of measuring and test equipment that is traceable to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), or an institution recognized by NIST, to the International System of Units by an unbroken chain of calibrations.”
  • A reference to NASA-STD-8739.12 was added in Attachment A, paragraph A.3: “Calibration of MTE [Measuring and Test Equipment] shall be performed in accordance with NASA-STD-8739.12.”
  • The following language was used to transfer a responsibility from NPD 8730.1 section 5, Responsibility; paragraph 5.b., NASA Center Directors; (4): “Designate a qualified representative to the NASA Metrology and Calibration Working Group (MCWG) to provide Center representation and input at MCWG meetings, workshops, and other designated activities. The MCWG serves as a collaborative forum for the development of Agency requirements, guidance, and tools for effective metrology/calibration program implementation.”


While NASA-STD-8739.12 is new, most of the requirements it levies were previously included in NPD 8730.1. Those requirements include the

  1. Functions and conditions that require calibrated MTE
  2. Measurement traceability to the international system of units
  3. Calibration system compliancy with one of three voluntary consensus standards:
    1. ANSI/NCSL Z540.1-1994 (R2002), Calibration Laboratories and Measuring and Test Equipment - General Requirements
    2. ANSI/NCSL Z540.3-2006 (R2013), Requirements for the Calibration of Measuring and Test Equipment
    3. ISO/IEC 17025:2005, General Requirements for the Competence of Testing and Calibration Laboratories

NASA-STD-8739.12 carries over a provision from NPD 8730.1 that gives calibration labs, which are working to ANSI/NCSL Z540.3, an alternative method for meeting that standard’s Probability of False Acceptance requirement.

Three new topic areas, not previously found in NPD 8730.1, were added to NASA-STD-8739.12:

  1. “Procurement of External Calibration Services” was added to ensure that MTE sent to an offsite calibration provider is within the provider’s scope of capability and that the applicable technical requirements are flowed to the provider
  2. “Measuring and Test Equipment Repair and Adjustment” was added to ensure that Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) controls are used when adjusting or repairing ESD-sensitive MTE
  3. “Metrology and Calibration Records” was added as a reference to the NASA requirements for records retention — NPR 1441.1, NASA Records Management Program Requirements and NRRS 1441.1, NASA Records Retention Schedule


While NASA-STD-8739.12 is largely a carry-over of requirements from NPD 8730.1, centers and programs should review the standard and work to incorporate it in in-house Quality management system documents (e.g., policies, procedures, work instructions), Level 1 mission assurance requirements and procurement specifications (e.g., contracts, purchase orders) where NPD 8730.1 is currently used. Questions can be directed to the Metrology and Calibration Program Manager Kenny Mathews.