Inspection and Quality Assurance

Quality assurance verifíes that the manufacture and testing of the spacecraft and its components conform to engineering data. MIL Q 9858A describes quality assurance for military programs. Table 12-6 lists its elements: quality program management, facilities and standards, control of purchases, and manufacturing control.

A key element in the quality program is establishing points in the production flow where we can make sure the hardware construction complies with its engineering data before the next step keeps us from inspecting it In some cases, controlling the process on the production line will ensure the hardware quality. Process inspection and control thus substitutes for direct test.

We must also verify that vendors supplying spacecraft hardware have satisfactory quality assurance programs by certifying their programs and periodically auditing their performance.

Test surveillance involves certifying test equipment and procedures, witnessing tests, approving test records, and reviewing results. Test equipment normally conforms to a reduced set of controlled engineering data such as mechanical assembly drawings, parts lists, wire lists, panel photographs, and calibration test procedures. Test surveillance personnel certify the construction and calibration of the test set They approve hardware tests, and they prepare and control the test data package. They also formally review test results before the next operation proceeds. Generally, the test conductor chairs the test review board, but test surveillance provides the records and documents the results for the archives.

Quality assurance must maintain data records for formal tests and failures. Often quality-assurance people keep all failed parts and record failure and anomaly results, so they can identify repetitive failures and correct the design weaknesses. Although formal procedures govern tests, troubleshooting may deviate from them. For such operations, quality assurance approves and maintains records of the exact steps involved.

TABLE 12-6. Elements of Quality Assurance (MIL Q 9858A).

• Management

- Organization

- Initial quality planning

- Stall requirements, training, personnel certification, records

- Work instructions

Manufacturing inspection and test program

Workmanship

Visual aids

- Records

- Corrective action -Costs

• Facilities and Standards

- Drawings, documentation, and changes

- Measuring and test equipment

- Production tooling and Inspection media

- Inspection equipment

- Special metrology

• Control of Purchases

• Manufacturing Control

- Materials and material control

- Production processing and fabrication

- Completed item inspection and test

- Handling storage and delivery

- Nonconforming material

- Inspection status

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