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The use of common hardware can help to mitigate a number of issues with obtaining spacecraft replacement parts.

In the video clip, Stephanie Stilson, who managed the shuttle Discovery’s processing flow between the orbiter’s missions from 2000 to 2011, shares a knowledge-based risk associated with using common hardware for spacecraft. She discusses how that as time goes by hardware vendors may not be around to provide supply parts for spacecraft. Taking and using hardware from other spacecraft can cause issues with the cannibalized vehicle.


Video key learning points:

  1. 1.

    Hardware vendors can disappear and leave you without a parts supplier for important components.

  2. 2.

    Set detailed requirements that ask vendors to use very standardized components so that other vendors will be able to supply the components in the future.

  3. 3.

    Standardized components that are also used by the military and industry will more likely be available from multiple vendors.

  4. 4.

    Based on how long the spacecraft will fly and how long parts are scheduled to last, try to plan and predict how many replacement parts would be needed through the life of the spacecraft.

  5. 5.

    Keep a detailed tracking of where replacement parts might be located and other parts that could be used as replacements to help minimize the time needed to find replacements.


Related Resources

NASA Virtual Project Management Challenge Video: SAGE III: Developing Internal Capabilities while Driving Mission Success

ASK Magazine Article on Importance of In-House Capability

In-House Projects: Investing in the Agency, Today and Tomorrow

Women@NASA Interview with Stephanie Stilson

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