NASA'S Quality Program
NASA must contract to produce, and continually improve, safe, reliable products that meet or exceed customer and regulatory requirements. The globalization of the aerospace industry, and the resulting diversity of regional/national requirements and expectations, has complicated this objective.
Aerospace organizations face the challenge of assuring the quality of, and the integration of, products purchased from suppliers throughout the world and at all levels within the supply chain. NASA must overcome the adversities of reducing operational and institutional burdens, knowledge loss, aging infrastructure, parts obsolescence, and a shrinking industrial base. The implementation of a thorough, disciplined, risk based approach to quality is fundamental to mission success and safety. The tools, techniques, technology, policy, procedures and training necessary to achieve efficient and effective quality requires coordination across the Agency and with Industry.
The NASA Quality Program combines the capability of multiple quality groups to address various areas of consideration. Click on the links below to learn more about the NASA Quality Program and working groups.
NASA has adopted the Society of Automotive Engineers Aerospace Standard
(AS) 9100, Quality Systems - Aerospace - Model for Quality Assurance in Design, Development, Production, Installation and Servicing.
Recommended practices for inserting quality statements into purchase orders or contract "terms and conditions" (often referred to as "quality clauses" for contracts) have been developed for use as a best practices approach. These statements have been developed to reduce confusion and uncertainty associated with quality requirement flow down within the aerospace industry.
These recommended statements should be considered on a case-by-case basis and applied where appropriate as an alternate to one-off phraseology intended to convey the same meaning. An Americas Aerospace Quality Group (AAQG) work team is currently reviewing these statements for publication as an aerospace recommended practice.
Quality Code Title
Material Identification, Damage & count
Right of Access
Flow Down Requriements
Certificate of Compliance (C of C)
Certificate of Compliance (C of C) - Raw Materials
Certificate of Compliance (C of C) - Calibration
Special Process Certification
Configuration Management System
Government Source Inspection (GSI)
Contractor Source Inspection (CSI)
First Article Inspection
Nondestructive Inspection (NDI) / Nondestructive Test (NDT) Certification
100% Attribute Clauses
Limited Operating Life Items
Limited Life and Age Controlled (Shelf Life) Items
Packaging Handling & Labeling
As NASA advances towards the "One NASA" vision, the sharing of information across the agency has become increasingly important. A team of aerospace auditors has evaluated numerous practices to develop a series of recommended approaches to auditing quality systems and the quality of processes/products.
This site includes information on audit scheduling tools, guidance for conducting surveys and audits, templates for quality audit reports, corrective action response guidance, and audit closure control. Audit tools are dependent on the requirements that have been imposed on the contract and the individual systems that have been established to meet or exceed these requirements.
Audit Planning Committee
The agency-wide Joint Audit Planning Committee (JAPC) is a committee that coordinates the planning, scheduling, monitoring and management of supplier audit activity. This committee coordinates within NASA, other government agencies, and where appropriate the industry sector in order to reduce unnecessary duplication of limited resources while improving visibility into available data (per the guidance provided in the Code of Federal Regulation).
The committee utilizes the NASA Supplier Assessment System (SAS) as a database that focuses on providing information about supplier utilization, certification status, and status of assessment activities. The JAPC web site and SAS database are restricted to ".gov" use.
The Workmanship team is an aerospace working group that addresses workmanship standards and training for mission critical space flight hardware and associated ground support systems.
The team supports research and development of workmanship issues and concerns unique to the space industry. They promote continuous improvement and industry accountability for workmanship by providing information on best practices, lessons learned, and specific information on the unique requirements associated with space flight. The Workmanship team explains "why" space flight has unique workmanship requirements so that individual projects and programs can review their risk against the requirements and tailor accordingly.
NASA's goal is to utilize and leverage other agency and industry based standards, training, and technical resources where available to meet NASA's needs. The workmanship team assists in that effort. See
Parts Assurance and Packaging
NASA EEE Parts Assurance (NEPAG) and NASA EEE Parts and Packaging (NEPP) groups are working groups that provide knowledge, tools, information, and access to resources to to optimally support the project and program needs of EEE parts engineers and parts specialists.
NEPAG/NEPP coordinate EEE parts issues, implements IT systems and tools to assist in assurance activities, creates a knowledge base of EEE parts vender quality, develops assurance tools for COTS parts, establishes guidelines and procedures for EEE parts qualification, and partners with DoD, Industry, and other related Agencies with respect to EEE issues and concerns. See
Process Control is an essential element of managing risk to guarantee the continued safety and reliability of the space flight.
Good process control measures can aid in the prevention of process escapes that may result in or contribute to in-flight anomalies, mishaps, incidents and non-conformances. The mission of the Space Shuttle Program Process Control Focus Group is to reduce risk by reducing and/or eliminating process escapes. Space Shuttle Program PCFG communication and information sharing promotes the continued implementation of world-class process control standards. See
The process control outreach team provides process control outreach and education to industry, universities, and non-profit organizations that provide space flight related products and services to NASA. It is an extension of the work performed by the Space Shuttle Program PCFG. The team develops and makes available a range of products from general awareness information to on-site assessment and follow on support. See
The surveillance work team reviews issues such as quality/performance metrics, defect codes, quality clauses, risk indicators, and surveillance communication. The team includes representation from procurement, finance, quality, and engineering.
The team's objectives is to provide information on guidance, tools, best practices, and lessons learned concerning surveillance activities.
The Americas Aerospace Quality Group
The Americas Aerospace Quality Group (AAQG) is a subcommittee of the Society of Automotive Engineering (SAE) Aerospace Council. Membership of the AAQG includes key representatives from the Aerospace community.
The mission of the AAQG is: Consistent satisfaction of Customer expectations through a government and industry partnership using world-class quality processes and practices. This is accomplished by: minimizing or eliminating unique non-value added differences in the Quality Systems Requirements (QSR) imposed on the aerospace community; defining and promulgating a common operational definition of those QSR elements important to aerospace which are insufficiently defined by other national or international standards; and proactively integrating government agency quality system requirements for the aerospace industry.
NASA coordinates with the AAQG to better understand industry quality concerns and to facilitate NASA's understanding and recognition of industry based practices as they apply to meeting Agency quality requirements.
Contractor Accreditation Program
The National Aerospace and Defense Contractor Accreditation Program (NADCAP) consist of major prime contractors, suppliers, and government agencies in aerospace, defense, and related industries throughout the United States and internationally.
NADCAP accredits subcontractors and suppliers to aerospace and defense industry consensus standards. The "one-audit, one-time", and for-all accreditation concept offers real cost reductions to both prime contractor and supplier.
The Academy of Aerospace Quality 21 NASA is a member of NADCAP. NASA utilizes NADCAP data to monitor trends in aerospace quality, and is developing methods to utilize NADACP accreditation as an input into surveillance activities. General information about NADCAP can be found at the following link. Access to the actual NADCAP database is restricted to authorized individuals.
Product Data Reporting and Evaluation Program
The Product Data Reporting and Evaluation Program (PEDREP) is an automated information system managed by the Navy Sea Logistics Center Detachment Portsmouth. PEDREP tracks quality and delivery performance on material/services procured by participating Government agencies.
Data is collected and is maintained in the following records on the database: Contractor CAGE Information, Debarment/Suspension, Contract Delivery Data, DLA Contractor Alert List, GIDEP, Alerts, Material Inspection Records, Product Quality Deficiency Reports, Qualified Product List, Special Quality Data, Surveys, and Test Reports.
The application offers a wide selection of standard, management, and graphical reports. NASA is a member of PEDREP and is developing methods to utilize PEDREP data as an input into surveillance activities. Access to the actual PEDREP database is restricted to authorized individuals.
All the information presented here was developed by NASA and it is used with some minor modifications. It’s found in the web addresses shown throughout this module.