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Organizational Objectives

The JPL Office of the Chief Engineer (OCE) is chartered to perform the following activities:

  • Ensure that sound engineering processes and practices are defined, maintained and applied to all JPL flight projects.

  • Assess the adequacy of the flow down, implementation and compliance with the institutional technical practices for in-house and contracted activities.

  • Maintain a pool of Lead Discipline Engineers for independent risk assessment and risk mitigation recommendations to support project level Engineer Technical Authorities (ETAs).

  • Perform an independent technical and risk assessments reporting to the Center Management Council (CMC), Projects and NASA as directed.

  • Participate with the Office of Safety and Mission Success (OSMS) in an independent risk assessment of red flag and significant Problem Failure Reports (PFRs) and Criticality I and II Incident, Surprise Anomaly (ISAs).

  • Participate or be represented on the Standing Review Boards (SRB) for major reviews in the life cycle of category I and II projects, and major reviews of other projects or instruments as requested.

  • Perform and/or coordinate the activities of an ETA per the JPL Technical Authority Implementation Plan developed to comply with ETA governance model specified in NPR 1000 and NPR 7120.5D.

  • Perform and/or coordinate the activities of the NASA Engineering and Safety Center (NESC) including NESC support to JPL projects. The NESC Chief Engineer for JPL is a member of the OCE.

  • Support or lead, as appropriate, the development, review and promulgation of JPL engineering practices and procedures. Support the NASA Engineering Standards Panel (NESP) and as such, review draft NASA engineering standards to ensure they:

    • Capture lessons learned and new technology
    • Provide a common base for interoperability
    • Facilitate engineering excellence

  • Provide the programmatic interface and manage the NASA OCE-sponsored engineering research tasks (RTOPs) awarded to JPL, directed at achieving or maintaining JPL technical excellence in key areas, including:

    • Engineering standards development
    • Systems excellence initiatives
    • Software engineering complexity/maturity initiatives
    • Spacecraft fault management
    • Engineering knowledge capture
    • Spacecraft technology feasibility studies
    • Exploration architectures

  • Lead the JPL lessons learned process. Capture critical success factors from flight projects for documenting in the NASA Engineering Network as “lessons learned.” Ensure that lessons learned are infused into JPL engineering documentation and training.

  • Facilitate the waiver process to institutional, engineering (technical) requirements, procedures and practices (directive-type documents in DNP Domain).

  • Advise the JPL Director, Associate Director for Flight Projects and Mission Success, and Director Engineering and Science on technical issues and project’s readiness to launch.

  • Perform ad hoc assignments at the direction of the Associate Director for Flight Projects and Mission Success and the Director of Engineering and Science.

  • Provide line management functions for OCE staff including selected senior Chief Engineers.


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