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                                   NASA's Preferred Practices
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NASA Preferred Practices for Design and Test of Robust Systems

This site defines a set of design and test practices that have contributed to the success of NASA spaceflight missions. The most recent edition of NASA Technical Memorandum 4322 was prepared by the NASA Reliability & Maintainability Steering Committee in February 1999: each practice was vetted by each of the participating NASA Centers as a valid “NASA-wide” practice. In 1998 NASA received the IEEE Reliability Society's first Company of the Year award in recognition of the publication of the "NASA Reliability Preferred Practices for Design and Test" and the "Recommended Techniques for Effective Maintainability". Please note that these documents have not recently been reviewed for consistency with current engineering practices, and they may contain material that is out of date.


Quick Links

bullet Environmental Series Practices bullet Engineering Design Series Practices
bullet Analysis Series Practices bullet Test Series Practices
bullet Design Guidelines bullet Ground Support Equipment Practices
bullet Recommended Techniques for Effective Maintainability bullet Operations and Operational Design Techniques
bullet Acronym List bullet Key Word Index

Preferred Practices

This section contains reliability design practices provided for use throughout NASA and the aerospace community to assist in the design and development of highly reliable equipment and assemblies. The practices include recommended analysis procedures, redundancy considerations, parts selection, environmental requirements considerations, and test requirements and procedures. Each practice document defines the practice and discusses its benefits, spacecraft applications, implementation method, technical rationale, and impact of non-performance, and it also lists references and related practices.

Environmental Series

Practice No. PD-EC-1101

Environmental Factors

Practice No. PD-EC-1102

Meteoroids/Space Debris

Practice No. PD-EC-1103

Nickel-Cadmium Conventional Spacecraft Battery Handling and Storage Practice

Practice No. PD-EC-1104

Monitoring Spacecraft Exposure to Magnetic Fields

Practice No. PD-EC-1105

Solar Flare Proton & Heavy Ion Modeling for Single Event Effects

Practice No. PD-EC-1106

Plasma Noise in EMI Design

Practice No. PD-EC-1107

Micrometeorite Protection

Practice No. PD-EC-1108

Super Ni-Cd Spacecraft Battery Handling and Storage Practice

Practice No. PD-EC-1109

Ni-H2 Spacecraft Battery Handling and Storage Practice

Practice No. PD-EC-1110

Optical Fiber Cable Terminations and Procedures



Engineering Design Series

Practice No. PD-ED-1201

EEE Parts Derating

Practice No. PD-ED-1202

High Voltage Power Supply Design and Manufacturing Practices

Practice No. PD-ED-1203

Class S Parts in High Reliability Applications

Practice No. PD-ED-1204

Part Junction Temperature

Practice No. PD-ED-1205

Welding Practices for 2219 Aluminum and Inconel

Practice No. PD-ED-1206

Power Line Filters

Practice No. PD-ED-1207

Magnetic Design Control for Science Instruments

Practice No. PD-ED-1208

Static Cryogenic Seals for Launch Vehicle

Practice No. PD-ED-1209

Ammonia-Charged Aluminum Heat Pipes with Extruded Wicks

Practice No. PD-ED-1210

Assessment and Control of Electrical Charges

Practice No. PD-ED-1211

Combination Methods for Deriving Structural Design Loads

Practice No. PD-ED-1212

Design & Analysis of Circuits for Worst Case Environments and Part Variations

Practice No. PD-ED-1213

Electrical Shielding of Power, Signal, and Control Cables

Practice No. PD-ED-1214

Electrical Grounding Practices for Aerospace Hardware

Practice No. PD-ED-1215.1

Preliminary Design Review

Practice No. PD-ED-1215.2

Hardware Review / Certification Requirement

Practice No. PD-ED-1215-3

Critical Design Review for Unmanned Missions

Practice No. PD-ED-1215-4

Common Review Methods

Practice No. PD-ED-1215-5

Pre-Ship Review

Practice No. PD-ED-1215.6

Mission Readiness Review

Practice No. PD-ED-1216

Active Redundancy

Practice No. PD-ED-1217

Structural Laminate Composites for Space Applications

Practice No. PD-ED-1218

Application of Ablative Composites to Nozzles for Reusable Solid Rocket Motors

Practice No. PD-ED-1219

Vehicle Integration/Tolerance Build-up Practices

Practice No. PD-ED-1220

Demagnetization of Ferromagnetic Parts

Practice No. PD-ED-1221

Battery Selection Practice for Aerospace Power Systems

Practice No. PD-ED-1222

Magnetic Field Restraints for Spacecraft Systems and Subsystems

Practice No. PD-ED-1223

Vacuum Seals Design Criteria

Practice No. PD-ED-1224

Design Considerations for Fluid Tubing Systems

Practice No. PD-ED-1225

Conducted and Radiated Emissions Design Requirements

Practice No. PD-ED-1226

Thermal Design Practices for Electronic Assemblies

Practice No. PD-ED-1227

Controlling Stress Corrosion Cracking in Aerospace Applications

Practice No. PD-ED-1228

Independent Verification and Validation of Embedded Software

Practice No. PD-ED-1229

Selection of Electric Motors for Aerospace Applications

Practice No. PD-ED-1230

System Design Analysis Applied to Launch Vehicle Configurations

Practice No. PD-ED-1231

Design Considerations for Lightning Strike Survivability

Practice No. PD-ED-1232

Spacecraft Orbital Anomaly Report (SOAR) Systems

Practice No. PD-ED-1233

Contamination Control Program

Practice No. PD-ED-1234

Global Positioning System (GPS) Timing System

Practice No. PD-ED-1235

Over-Speed Protection System for DC Motor Driven Cranes

Practice No. PD-ED-1236

EEE Parts Selection Criteria for Flight Systems

Practice No. PD-ED-1238

Spacecraft Electrical Harness Design Practice

Practice No. PD-ED-1239

Spacecraft Thermal Control Coatings Design and Application

Practice No. PD-ED-1240

Identification, Control, and Management of Critical Items Lists

Practice No. PD-ED-1241

Contamination Budgeting for Space Optical Systems

Practice No. PD-ED-1242

Design Considerations for Space Trusses

Practice No. PD-ED-1243

Fault Protection

Practice No. PD-ED-1244

Design Practice to Control Interference from Electrostatic Discharge (ESD)

Practice No. PD-ED-1245

Magnetic Dipole Allocation

Practice No. PD-ED-1246

Fault Tolerant Design

Practice No. PD-ED-1247

Spacecraft Lessons Learned Reporting System

Practice No. PD-ED-1248

Spacecraft Data Systems (SDS) Hardware Design Practice

Practice No. PD-ED-1249

Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) Control in Flight Hardware

Practice No. PD-ED-1250

Pre-Flight Problem/Failure Reporting Procedures

Practice No. PD-ED-1251

Instrumentation System Design and Installation for Launch Vehicles

Practice No. PD-ED-1252

Material Selection Practices

Practice No. PD-ED-1253

Arcjet Thruster Design Considerations for Satellites

Practice No. PD-ED-1254

Design Reliable Ceramic Components with CARES Code

Practice No. PD-ED-1255

Problem Reporting and Corrective Action System

Practice No. PD-ED-1256

Automatic Transfer Switches (ATS) in Critical Applications

Practice No. PD-ED-1257

Solid Rocket Motor Joint Reliability

Practice No. PD-ED-1258

Space Radiation Effects on Electronic Components in Low-Earth Orbit

Practice No. PD-ED-1259

Acoustic Noise Requirements

Practice No. PD-ED-1260

Radiation Design Margin Requirement

Practice No. PD-ED-1261

Characterization of RF Subsystem Susceptibility to Spurious Signals

Practice No. PD-ED-1262

Subsystem Inheritance Review

Practice No. PD-ED-1263

Contamination Control of Space Optical Systems

Practice No. PD-ED-1264

Integrated Optical Performance Modeling of X-Ray Systems

Practice No. PD-ED-1265

Precision Diamond Turning of Aerospace Optical Systems

Practice No. PD-ED-1266

Binary and Hybrid Optics for Space Applications

Practice No. PD-ED-1267

Check Valve Reliability in Aerospace Applications

Practice No. PD-ED-1268

High Performance Liquid Hydrogen Turbopumps

Practice No. PD-ED-1269

High Performance Liquid Oxygen Turbopumps

Practice No. PD-ED-1272

Manned Space Vehicle Battery Safety

Practice No. PD-ED-1273

Quantitative Reliability Requirements Used as Performance-Based Requirements for Space Systems.



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Analysis Series

Practice No. PD-AP-1301

Surface Charging / ESD Analysis

Practice No. PD-AP-1302

Independent Review of Reliability Analyses

Practice No. PD-AP-1303

Part Electrical Stress Analyses

Practice No. PD-AP-1304

Problem/Failure Report Independent Review and Approval

Practice No. PD-AP-1305

Risk Rating of Problem/Failure Reports

Practice No. PD-AP-1306

Thermal Analysis of Electronic Assemblies to the Piece Part Level

Practice No. PD-AP-1307

Failure Modes, Effects And Criticality Analysis (FMECA)

Practice No. PD-AP-1308

Electromagnetic Interference Analysis of Circuit Transients

Practice No. PD-AP-1309

Analysis of Radiated EMI From ESD Events Caused by Space Charging

Practice No. PD-AP-1310

Spurious Radiated Interference Awareness

Practice No. PD-AP-1311

Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) in Launch Vehicle Applications

Practice No. PD-AP-1312

The Team Approach to Fault-Tree Analysis

Practice No. PD-AP-1313

System Reliability Assessment Using Block Diagraming Methods

Practice No. PD-AP-1314

Sneak Circuit Analysis Guideline for Electromechanical Systems

Practice No. PD-AP-1315

Redundancy Switching Analysis

Practice No. PD-AP-1316

Thick Dielectric Charging/Internal Electrostatic Discharge (IESD)

Practice No. PD-AP-1317

Flight Load Analysis as a Spacecraft Design Tool

Practice No. PD-AP-1318

Structural Stress Analysis

Practice No. PD-AP-1319

Redundancy Verification Analysis


Test Series

Practice No. PT-TE-1401

EEE Parts Screening

Practice No. PT-TE-1402

Thermal Cycling

Practice No. PT-TE-1403

Thermographic Mapping of PC Boards

Practice No. PT-TE-1404

Thermal Test Levels & Durations

Practice No. PT-TE-1405

Powered-On Vibration

Practice No. PT-TE-1406

Sinusoidal Vibration

Practice No. PT-TE-1407

Assembly Acoustic Tests

Practice No. PT-TE-1408A

Pyrotechnic Shock Testing (revised to reflect "powered" test mode)

Practice No. PT-TE-1409

Thermal-Vacuum Versus Thermal-Atmospheric Tests of Electronic Assemblies

Practice No. PT-TE-1410

Selection of Spacecraft Materials and Supporting Vacuum Outgassing Data

Practice No. PT-TE-1411

Heat Sinks for Parts Operated in Vacuum

Practice No. PT-TE-1412

Environmental Test Sequencing

Practice No. PT-TE-1413

Random Vibration Testing

Practice No. PT-TE-1414

Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) Test Practices

Practice No. PT-TE-1415

Power System Corona Testing

Practice No. PT-TE-1416

Radiated Susceptibility System Verification

Practice No. PT-TE-1417

Electrical Isolation Verification (DC)

Practice No. PT-TE-1418

Qualification of Non-Standard EEE Parts in Spaceflight Applications

Practice No. PT-TE-1419

Vibroacoustic Qualification Testing of Payloads, Subsystems, and Components

Practice No. PT-TE-1420

Sine-Burst Load Test

Practice No. PT-TE-1421

Eddy Current Testing of Aerospace Materials

Practice No. PT-TE-1422

Ultrasonic Testing of Aerospace Materials

Practice No. PT-TE-1423

Radiographic Testing of Aerospace Materials

Practice No. PT-TE-1424

Leak Testing of Liquid Hydrogen and Liquid Oxygen Propellant Systems

Practice No. PT-TE-1425

Magnetic Particle Testing of Aerospace Materials

Practice No. PT-TE-1426

Penetrant Testing of Aerospace Materials

Practice No. PT-TE-1427

Rocket Engine Technology Test Bed Practice

Practice No. PT-TE-1428

Practice of Reporting Parts, Materials, and Safety Problems (Alerts)

Practice No. PT-TE-1429

Integration and Test Practices to Eliminate Stresses on Electrical and Mechanical Components

Practice No. PT-TE-1430

Short Circuit Testing for Nickel/Hydrogen Battery Cells

Practice No. PT-TE-1431

Voltage/Temperature Margin Testing

Practice No. PT-TE-1432

RF Breakdown Characterization

Practice No. PT-TE-1433

Mechanical Fastener Inspection System

Practice No. PT-TE-1434

Battery Verification through Long-Term Simulation

Practice No. PT-TE-1435

Verification of RF Hardware Design Performance

Practice No. PT-TE-1436

Advanced Computed X-Ray Tomography

Practice No. PT-TE-1437

End to End Compatibility and Mission Simulation Testing

Practice No. PT-TE-1438

Reliability Considerations for Launch Vehicle Command Destruct Systems

Practice No. PT-TE-1439

Systems Test Considerations for High Performance Liquid Propellant Rocket Engines

Practice No. PT-TE-1440

Modal Testing: Measuring Dynamic Structural Characteristics

Practice No. PT-TE-1441

Design of an Improved Gas Transfer Valve for Leak Tight Testing

Practice No. PT-TE-1442

Design of a Small Apparatus for Improved Vibration/Thermal Testing



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Design Guidelines

This section contains reliability design guidelines for consideration by the aerospace community. The guidelines presented in this section contain valuable information that, in the opinion of the sponsoring activity, represents a technically credible process that could be applied to ongoing NASA programs/projects. Unlike a reliability design practice, a guideline lacks specific operational experience or data to indicate that a topic area has contributed to mission success. However, a guideline does contain information that represents current “best thinking” on a particular topic and is a well thought out approach to resolving a particular issue or problem. The Reliability and Maintainability Steering Committee agreed unanimously with the appropriateness of the approach.

Engineering Design Series

Guideline No. 2201

Fastener Standardization and Selection Considerations

Guideline No. 2202

Design Considerations for Selection of Thick-Film Microelectronic Circuits

Guideline No. 2203

Design Checklists for Microcircuits

Guideline No. 2204

Concurrent Engineering Guideline for Aerospace Systems

Guideline No. 2205

Design and Manufacturing Guideline for Aerospace Composites

Guideline No. 2206

Selection of Compatible Materials for Use with Fluorine

Guideline No. 2207

Designing for Dormant Reliability

Guideline No. 2208

Fabrication of Gaseous and Liquid Fluorine Systems

Guideline No. 2209

Spacecraft Deployed Appendage Design Guidelines

Guideline No. 2210

Fiber-Reinforced Polymer Composite Material Selection

Guideline No. 2211

Coordinate Systems for Attitude Determination and Control

Guideline No. 2213

Management of Limited Failure Analysis Resources for EEE Parts

Guideline No. 2214

Marman Clamp System Design Guidelines



Analytical Procedures Series

Guideline No. 2301

Earth Orbit Environmental Heating

Guideline No. 2302

Thermal Analysis of Spacecraft Hardware Guideline

Guideline No. 2303

Spectral Fatigue Reliability

Guideline No. 2304

Fracture Mechanics Reliability

Guideline No. 2305

Structural Analysis in the Design of Optical Mirrors



Test Element Series

Guideline No. 2401

EMC Guideline for Payloads, Subsystems, and Components

Guideline No. 2402

Near Field Measurement for Large Aperture Antenna Pattern Determination

Guideline No. 2403

Spacecraft Deployed Appendage Test Guidelines

Guideline No. 2404

Guideline for Use of Fizeau Interferometer in Optical Testing





Ground Support Equipment (GSE) Practices

This section contains design and procedural practices that have contributed to successful ground support of spaceflight and ground-based aerospace programs. The information presented in this section is for use throughout NASA and the aerospace community to assist in the design, development, and operation of highly reliable ground support equipment and assemblies. This material is primarily concerned with design and test techniques, procedures for control of critical items, and control of environmental influences on successful launch.

Practice No. 3001

Flow Fuses for Elimination of Hazards in Pneumatic and Hydraulic Systems

Practice No. 3002

Fail Safe Firex/Deluge System

Practice No. 3003

Redundancy in Critical Mechanical Systems

Practice No. 3004

Use of Design Review Checklists for Space Shuttle GSE

Practice No. 3005

Identification, Control, and Management of GSE Critical Items

Practice No. 3006

Environmental Test Methods for Ground Support Equipment

Practice No. 3007

Redundancy Considerations for Ground Communication Systems

Practice No. 3008

Electrostatic Discharge Control for GSE

Practice No. 3009

Uninterruptable Power Supply Systems (UPS)

Practice No. 3010

Oil-Free Vacuum Pump in the LOX/LH2 Transfer System

Practice No. 3011

Foreign Object Debris (FOD) Programs at KSC



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Recommended Techniques for Effective Maintainability

Program Management Series

A fundamental key to program and mission success is the development of systems that are reliable and affordable to operate and maintain with today's limited resources. Early definition of both hardware and software requirements that provide the capability for rapid restoration when failures occur is essential. While incorporation of a maintainability program may require some additional early investment, the resulting benefits will include operational cost savings and improved system availability. The techniques included in this section are intended to provide management personnel with an understanding of all information necessary to develop, foster, and integrate a successful maintainability program that will enhance mission success and lower overall costs. Each technique provides high-level information on a specific subject, and can be tailored or expanded to achieve optimum application.

Technique No. PM-1

Benefits of Implementing Maintainability on NASA Programs

Technique No. PM-2

Maintainability Program Management Considerations

Technique No. PM-3

Maintenance Concept for Space Systems

Technique No. PM-4

Preventive Maintenance Strategies Using Reliability Centered Maintenance



Design Factors and Engineering Series

green ball Technique No. DFE-1

Selection of Robotically Compatible Fasteners and Handling Mechanisms

green ball Technique No. DFE-2

False Alarm Mitigation Techniques

greenball Technique No. DFE-3

Common Charge Points for Lubrication Systems for Mechanical Ground Support Equipment

green ball Technique No. DFE-4

Use of Digital Potentiometers in Electrically Powered Systems

greenball Technique No. DFE-5 Ground Piping Systems Color Coding and Identification
green ball Technique No. DFE-6 Software Design for Maintainability
green ball Technique No. DFE-7 Fault Detection, Fault Isolation and Recovery (FDIR) Techniques


Analysis and Test Series

The objective of the Maintainability function is to influence system design such that the end product can be maintained in a cost effective operational condition with minimum downtime. In order for the Maintainability discipline to provide maximum influence to a program, design principles to obtain these objectives must be implemented early in the design phase. Techniques that have proven to be beneficial on previous programs are presented in this section as design recommendations for future programs.

Technique No. AT-1

Neutral Buoyancy Simulation of On-Orbit Maintenance

Technique No. AT-2

Mean-Time-To-Repair Predictions

Technique No. AT-3

Availability Prediction and Analysis

Technique No. AT-4

Availability, Cost, and Resource Allocation (ACARA) Model to Support Maintenance Requirements
Technique No. AT-5 Rocket Engine Failure Prediction Using an Average Signal Power Technique
Technique No. AT-6 Wear Particle Analysis Using Ferrography
Technique No. AT-7 Maintenance & Test Criteria for Circuit Breakers
Technique No. AT-8 Vibration Analysis of Rotating Ground Support Machinery
Technique No. AT-9 Thermography
Technique No. AT-10 Ultrasound Testing


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Operations and Operational Design Techniques

This section provides a rich source of ideas to any organization that is involved in either spaceflight operations or design to support those operations. The techniques reflect actual spaceflight operations experience and related field experience that can be used to achieve continuous improvement. They can provide a mechanism for feedback from operators of flight hardware to system designers to make the systems easier, safer, and less costly to operate. Also, they provide the design engineer with valuable information on the latest technology advances in the operations environment. These techniques also can serve as a communications tool for operations personnel, allowing for transfer of knowledge and enhancement of professional development. The techniques contained herein are the most up-to-date NASA operational processes, process improvements, and feedback to design engineers, all of which are dedicated to making NASA systems as maintainable and cost efficient as possible.


yellowball Technique No. OPS-1

SRB Refurbishment Practices

yellowball Technique No. OPS-2

Electrical Connector Protection

yellowball Technique No. OPS-3

Robotic Removal and Application of SRB Thermal Systems

yellowball Technique No. OPS-4

GHe Purging of H2 Systems
yellowball Technique No. OPS-5 Programmable Logic Controller
yellowball Technique No. OPS-6 DC Drive - Solid State Control
yellowball Technique No. OPS-7 AC - Variable Frequency Drive Systems
yellowball Technique No. OPS-8 Fiber Optic Systems
yellowball Technique No. OPS-9 Pneumatic Systems - Pilot-Controlled Loaded Pressure Regulator Loading
yellowball Technique No. OPS-10 Modular Automatic Power Source Switching Device
yellowball Technique No. OPS-11 Pneumatic System Contamination Protection
yellowball Technique No. OPS-12 Fault Isolation Using Terminal Blocks
yellowball Technique No. OPS-13 Predictive Maintenance Program
yellowball Technique No. OPS-14 Computer-Aided Laser Shaft Alignment of Rotating Machinery
yellowball Technique No. OPS-15 Facility Chilled Water for Thermal Conditioning Unit
yellowball Technique No. OPS-16 Use of GN2 for Valve Corrosion Control
yellowball Technique No. OPS-17 Electrical Equipment Protection from Liquid Intrusion
yellowball Technique No. OPS-18 Orbiter S-Band Uplink Monitoring System
yellowball Technique No. OPS-19 Maintainability Considerations in EVA Design: An Astronaut's Perspective



For additional information on these NASA best practices, please contact David Oberhettinger, the JPL representative to the former NASA Reliability & Maintainability Steering Committee.



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