NASA-STD-8739.8 Recently Updated

NASA-STD-8739.8 Recently Updated

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Programming Code Abstract

The Office of Safety and Mission Assurance (OSMA) Software Assurance program recently updated NASA-STD-8739.8, NASA Software Assurance and Software Safety Standard — formerly NASA Software Assurance Standard.

“The standard update is a vital component of an agencywide plan to work toward a continuous and sustained Software Engineering and Software assurance process and product improvement,” said Tim Crubmley, Software Assurance technical fellow. “The update will also open the door for better and more direct value; better understanding; and improved execution of Software Assurance, software safety, and IV&V [Independent Verification and Validation] activities on all projects.”

The updated standard

  • Combines the requirements for Software Assurance and software safety into one standard, thus eliminating the overlapping requirements in the two existing OSMA standards and focusing the requirements on improving the steps needed to test and verify safety-critical software
  • Uses a performance-based requirements approach
  • Aligns each Software Assurance and software safety requirement directly to the Software Engineering requirements in NPR 7150.2, NASA Software Engineering Requirements
  • Updates the criterion for determining which software components are considered software safety components
  • Adds requirements for IV&V
  • Uses a product and data-driven approach
  • Addresses Software Assurance issues and findings (e.g., software requirements issues, code issues and software test issues)

In addition, the wiki-based NASA-HDBK-2203, NASA Software Engineering and Assurance Handbook was updated to provide users and practitioners with electronic guidance material for the implementation of the NASA Software Assurance and software safety requirements in NASA-STD-8739.8. The handbook captures the broad knowledge base of numerous experts who have extensive experience in all aspects of NASA's software systems.  

The update applies to all software created, acquired, provided or maintained by or for NASA and also applies to all commercial providers.


Software is a core capability and critical enabling technology for NASA's missions and supporting infrastructure. The Software Assurance and Software Safety Standard provides a basis for personnel to perform Software Assurance, software safety and IV&V activities consistently throughout the life of the software — that is, from its conception, through creation to operations and maintenance, and until the software is retired. The standard stresses coordination between the Software Assurance subdisciplines, as well as with System Safety, system reliability, hardware Quality, system security and Software Engineering, to maintain the system perspective and minimize duplication of effort.

The objectives of the standard include

  • Ensuring that the processes, procedures and products used to produce and sustain the software conform to all requirements and standards specified to govern those processes, procedures and products
  • Ensuring that the software systems are safe and that there are clear requirements for software safety-critical components
  • Ensuring that the software systems are secure

Questions about the standard can be directed to Crumbley.